One summer. 10 colleges. The summer before my senior year of high school was an ongoing trip, visiting colleges all over New England and upstate New York. From sweltering campus tours, to the same speech at every university, college visits can be tiring and stressful. I looked at a range of colleges, including large state universities, small private schools, and Ivy Leagues. Every college assured me of the same fact: they all are the best campus, with the greatest professors and resources. Each college offered enough extracurricular clubs and activities to outnumber the number of rejected applicants at the most challenging schools.
My nonstop college excursion did offer a number of unique, and often amusing, experiences. At a renowned Ivy League, an admission officer told my family that one applicant sent in forty letters of recommendation, including one from his dentist. I wonder what the letter said, perhaps something along the lines of, “Timmy has brilliant teeth and that is why he is an excellent candidate for your institution!'” At the same university, several parents asked if having relatives who attended the school previously would insure their son’s or daughter’s admission. Clearly, those parents had not fully looked into the total college application process.
My family and I became shocked when a student guide enlightened us with what he called an “interesting tidbit about the college’s history'”at one rather large, public university. The student guide informed us that we were standing in a classroom with a chalkboard that was actually a one-way mirror. Apparently, this “chalkboard” was used back in the sixties and seventies to conduct psychological research on unsuspecting students.
At a small private college, several prospective students giggled when a power point presentation listing the college’s frequently asked questions popped up with, “Does I need to take four years of Spanish?” I heard someone whisper, “No, but you does need to take English!” Later in the day, I told the admission officer of her blunder in private, but she did not understand the grammatical mistake.
I still don’t know what college I will be attending next fall, but I already have some unforgettable university memories. Although I can now reminisce fondly about my summer’s journey, I’m glad my days of exploring campuses are over. To college-bound high schoolers, I would recommend visiting schools early, keeping an open mind, and having fun. Also, don’t be surprised if you finish your college visits with a few memorable stories!
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