When A College’s Best Face Takes The Day Off

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!



  • BusyDad

    It was a great idea that you guys went and visited the entire spectrum of available schools. And yeah, about your tour guide, are you sure you weren’t being filmed for Punk’d or something?? haha! Hilarious! At least it was worth a funny blog post.

  • surprised mom

    I found your exchange with the student guide hilarious and sad at the same time. I can’t imagine kids like this running the world in the future. I wonder what the administrators would say if they heard him? I agree with you about home schooling. We were thinking about a two-year school before my oldest got scholarships and loans. It’s not a bad idea at all. Has your son picked a few schools he really likes?

  • Lindz

    Oh dear lord that takes me back. But seriously? Who lets someone like that guide tours? Isn’t the purpose to get students to want to go there and their parents to walk away feeling like their money would be invested wisely? Hmmm….

  • NukeDad

    Was your guides name Matt Foley, cuz I think he LIVES IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!!!!

    And what “Home” was he schooled in? The Last House On The Left?

    Good Gravy.

  • Gene

    In defense of Zeus, once you’ve been in Clash of the Titans and had sex with plenty of hot Greek goddesses there’s really nowhere left to go. Poor fella.

  • NYCity Mama

    Oh man…not much for the poster child for homeschooling, huh? Yikes! I toured a community college and it freaked me the hell out. I was lucky to have a job with tuition reimbursement,granted I had to work during the day and go to night school, but at least I avoided that craziness. Good luck in your search!

  • The Microblogologist

    Yeah I went straight to Benedictine, heard too many transfer stories to want to consider COD. Science texts do tend to be expensive, but I think that is true for most subjects, and if you have to buy 5 books for a lit class it adds up even if they are relatively cheap. My best advice is to look on the internet for used texts, it saved me hundreds of dollars (maybe $1000+, I didn’t keep track).

    I went to a small high school (96 in my class) and so I liked the idea of a small college and loved Benedictine. Iowa State is huge but being a grad student puts me into a small class of students essentially so I still have more one-on-one interaction with profs and the like. And my goodness are you guys proactive on this, I literally did nothing until my second semester of Sr. year in high school the guidance councilor cornered me and made me get on the ball with it. You rock! And making him help pay I think is important even if it wasn’t necessary, though he is a good kid unlike some of the spoiled brats I encountered at Ben U.

  • Sue

    Hmmm, I used to be a tour guide at Bates and I am trying to remember the screening process. I could give you a tour there, a nice small liberal arts college in the middle of the snow belt for like $50k a year. Thank goodness I went there when it was “cheap”. HAHAHA
    They did make some good cookies at the snack bar though…..

  • The Microblogologist

    Sue brings up a good point, I recently discovered the awesome brownies served here at ISU. That should definitely be part of the selection process, the quality of baked goods in the cafes and dining halls!

    Hahaha, my captcha is unnic, this amuses my immature self =)

  • Michelle

    Wow that’s disturbing. You’ll have to let me know which CC you went to so I can be sure to take that same tour someday with the wee ones. Mister Man won’t be an issue, but I know Little Miss will need some encouragement 😉