The College Tour

Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

We went looking at colleges recently. Noodge 1 is a junior in high school and I’m under the impression this is the time to get serious and check things out. There’s a lot of pressure to pick the right school. I have a friend whose son is also a junior and she’s been on a binge to see as many schools as possible before Christmas.

But anyway, looking at colleges is the right thing to do, so we’re at it. As long as we’ve seen every school he’s interested in by marching band camp next summer I’m good. We can skip the discussion about how ridiculously expensive school is. It is. That’s that. The Coffee King and I have made our requirements known. Though, the cost of school is a very important discussion and if you want to have one here at the blog, that’s fine, but please have one at home too.

You know for me, the most important thing was how clean the dorms were. Okay, not THE most important, but I’ll admit I elbowed a few people out of the way to make sure I took a look at the room on display. I controlled myself and stayed out of the bathroom. But I will be sending Noodge to school with bleach. Mark my words.

It isn’t easy to choose a school. (Here’s an article from The New York Times about how to pick a college. I’m not a huge fan of The Times, but how badly can they screw up this information?) For us, we’re looking at location. I want him to go to school in my backyard. He wants to go anywhere. We’re compromising. Anything withing five hours. The Coffee King had to weigh in and talk me off the ledge. I know, I know. I’m a controlling, paranoid mother. What can I say? I take my job very seriously.

Degrees offered is also important. Noodge has an idea what he wants to do. He’s changed his mind several times already, which is fine, but based on today’s desires we have a place to start.

The ugly cost is a factor. How much money the school offers in aid is important. It might be the most important component for some people. The schools seem to give financial aid information at their orientation, but if they don’t, make sure to ask. Internships and opportunities as well as activities for the students should also factor in. One big thing for Noodge is the campus itself. He likes a traditional campus more than an urban campus. That rules out plenty of schools. Oh, and size is a factor for some students. He goes to a very large high school so a larger college isn’t intimidating and a smaller one is fine too. Every kid is different. Make sure to find out what the teacher to student ratio is. Some kids will thrive in a lecture hall of three hundred and others will drown.

Helping my child to pick a college is like every other stop on this journey of motherhood. I’m leading with my heart, offering advice, and praying. The rest is up to him.

I mentioned earlier Noodge has been changing his mind about his career choices. Nothing wrong with that, but I’m learning changing his mind isn’t so easy for him. I don’t know if it’s because he’s told people what he wants to do and now that story is different, but over breakfast, while we were away, we talked. Really talked. I led with my heart and gave advice. I told him the decision was his. He didn’t have to explain his career choice to anyone.

It’s okay to change your mind. You don’t have to know what you want to do with your entire life at sixteen. Do what makes you happy because you’ll be doing it for many years, many hours of the day. Life is too short to hate what you do. And if you start doing something and you decide you don’t like it, change it. You’re going to be okay. Dad and I are proud of you.

My son looked at me and said, “Thank you.”

“For what?”

“For giving me advice and being so nice about me wanting to do something else.”

Since we were in a public place it took all the strength I had not to grab him and hug him. My heart swelled as I watched him taller than me, stronger than me, smarter than me, with his unshaven face, (It’s No Shave November and though NSN is an organization helping cancer awareness I think Noodge and his friends just want to compare their ability to grow a beard.) The little chubby baby I held in my arms is almost a man.

“It’s what I’m here for.” A stupid grin plastered across my face. As we left the restaurant, I gave him an aww shucks shoulder bump.

My boy is leaving the nest soon. No matter which college he chooses, I know he’ll be fine. Me on the other hand…..




13 thoughts on “The College Tour

  1. The college tours are tough on multiple levels. You gave him great advice. It’s hard letting go.

    Yesterday, my boy came home from his first college semester for Thanksgiving break and I was literally jumping up and down in the driveway as he pulled in. Lots of hugs and kisses.

  2. I can (regrettably!) relate, Stacey: My wife and I are currently assisting our 17-year-old niece, who we love like a daughter, through the process of selecting and applying to colleges. I remember cradling the child in my arms when she was less than 24 hours old… and now she’s off to college! I don’t remember my own childhood going so quickly.


    1. Sean,
      Your niece is very lucky to have you and your wife helping her. Time does fly and I agree, my own teen years didn’t go by as quickly. I think as we get older time speeds up. It’s a sneaky trick!!

  3. Younger Son is in the process of applying but keeping it close to home at the CC level to start. (That still translates to a lot of work for me, and I’m not 100% sure what will happen once the kid realizes he’s going to have to study, lol. 😉😁) This parenting journey is quite the trip–letting go in so many ways. Who knew?! And yes, I would sign up again. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    1. There are pros and cons to having your Younger Son around another year. Great you can still spend time with him, not so great if you’re still doing his laundry. LOL!! I knew you had to let go of your children, but I didn’t know how sticky my hands would be! A very happy Thanksgiving to you and your family as well!

      1. I do all the actual laundering (that is, I get it into/out of the washer, dryer and/or clothesline–yes, the clothesline, lol). Hubby and/or kids usually put it away. We all have our things we need to control! 😉

  4. It’s right up there with leaving for kindergarten! It’s always a bitter sweet moment, mom. Just visited our daughter, son in law and grandboys, and leaving was awful. It never gets easier, just life “in the big city” or small town… You’re enjoying all the adventures along the way! Wishing you many joys!

    1. Ah…kindergarten! I thought that was hard. LOL! Glad you got to enjoy time with your family. You’re right about it being life. And we have to adjust. Unfortunately, I’m adjusting kicking and screaming. LOL!

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