The Last College Tour

Yesterday was bittersweet for me.  My son Ben and I wrapped up our final college tour before he begins applying to colleges.

Our last stop was Lawrence University, a lovely liberal arts college in Appleton, WI., where the autumn leaves provided a stunning backdrop for a campus that’s perched above the picturesque Fox River. I am keenly aware of the autumn foliage since I live in a land of perpetually green palm trees. (I know I have no right to complain, but, hey, I’m transplanted Midwesterner, who misses forests).

It’s sad to see another milestone in my life pass me by though I realize that  most people wouldn’t consider touring colleges a milestone. Figuring out how to find great schools and pay for them has captivated me since my daughter Caitlin, who is a junior in college, was in high school. I have to admit that it’s more fun when you’ve got your own children navigating the college maze.

After Ben is packed off the college, I will still write about college, but I wonder if it will be as much fun.

I’ve enjoyed the time that I got to spend with my son this week as we visited four liberal arts schools, while managing to spend a day at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, which was awesome for a kid who is fascinated by World War II. (The captured U-boat in the basement is quite something.)

I’ve got to pack to head to the Milwaukee airport soon, but one quick thing that I’ve learned during this college tour and the one we embarked on earlier to the Pacific Northwest is that professors are so important in selecting schools.  Two out of the four schools that we visited this week are still on Ben’s list largely because he felt comfortable  with the physics professor(s) at those schools. If you never veer off the official college tour, you could be shortchanging yourself.

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