As you know, we have started the college search for the older boy. As we begin this journey, we’re trying to get a feel for what he wants in a school: size, location, programming, community, etc. Here’s what we’ve done so far:
1. Visited a small, private college (student population: 2,400)
2. Visited a large, public university (student population: 26,000)
3. Attended a College Fair, where we collected information for more than twenty-five schools that offer both majors the boy is interested in pursuing
4. Sent off for additional information from a few schools
5. Visited the local community college
Number five? We did that just last week. The community college had an open house for high school students, and we were able to get specific info on their Associates Degree programs and take a tour.
The tour? Well, let’s say that my son and I made more eye contact and shared more “WTF?” looks in that 30-minute time span than over the last six weeks altogether. (and that’s saying alot; we don’t shy away from eye contact OR WTF? looks.) The student who gave the tour was friendly enough, but left us wondering what the screening process was for wanna-be tour guides.
Here are a few exact quotes from our tour guide (I was keeping track in my phone for blogging purposes!):
1. “Hi! My name is Zeus*. I’ve been a student here for four years. Yeah, I know I should’ve been out in two, but, you know how it is…”
2. “This is the book store. It’s where you buy your books. I would recommend, however, buying used books. Oh, and if you’re considering taking a lot of science classes, use caution: those books are EXPENSIVE!!!”
3. “Here are some pictures (they were BLUEPRINTS, hanging on the wall) of some buildings that they’re going to make here on campus. They’ve already made some of them up, though.”
4. “Here’s the library. It’s great because, if you’re really tired, there’s a cool place up there in back where you can just go and sleep.”
5. (Upon being asked where he attended high school) “Ha! I’m actually a Home School Prodigy**!”
6. (Upon being asked what his post-graduation plans are, because he graduates this month) “I have no idea!”
I knew that my son was not going to be in love with this school. If we can make it work, (with scholarships and such) Jim, the boy and I are all in agreement that off to a four-year school it is. However, we had to go and check out the community college because he needs to know it’s there (We are not paying for his entire education; he’s got to help. So, checking out all options is necessary)***.
I didn’t think, however, that he would leave the tour *hating* the idea. Oops. Well, at least this will be motivation for him to keep his grades up and try to get some scholarships!
*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
**I am not knocking home schooling. These were his exact words. If you must know, as a college-trained elementary school teacher I generally don’t like the idea of home schooling because in many cases, parents are unqualified to teach their children what they need to know in order to be successful in college; I also find that there are quite a few home schoolers who put much more emphasis on religious studies than math, science and reading. (I think you can send your kids to school AND educate them religiously outside of school!) That said, I think that if a kid is lucky to have a *qualified* parent who possesses great organizational skills and has an actual curriculum that covers necessary subjects, it can be done effectively. (But those seem to be in the minority) Just sayin’.
***Both Jim and I got our Associate’s Degrees before transferring to four-year schools. It’s a great option, when you have to pay for some (or all) of your own schooling and you’re a young whippersnapper. Just wanted to put that out there so nobody thinks I’m knocking community colleges either!