And Then There Was a College Tour (or Three)

  Sunrise on I-81. I woke up my passenger to take the picture!

Sunrise on I-81. I woke up my passenger to take the picture!

How is this about cruising? It’s about taking the steps necessary to get out there, which includes launching our second child. So for us, this process is very much cruising prep.

At the beginning of the school year, I diligently added all school calendar dates to the master family calendar, sighing (as usual) about the insane number of long weekends the public school system here shoves into the year. There’s one every single month except for March - and this year, there’s not one in October either. There are 2 of them in September, 2 FIVE DAY weekends in November, the obvious one in December/January (but there’s another one in January too), 1 in February, a long one in April (spring break), and then late May.

The silver lining with these breaks is that, with a high school senior, it means I’ve got lots of options to head off to investigate colleges with my child.

September 21 was one of those long weekends, and since we were headed north to New England, a 10 hour drive away, we took Thursday off as well.

College is a funny thing. How is it, exactly, that you know when a place is right for you?

We hit Haverford, where there are 9 trees to every student and the trees get their own tour, complete with placards.

  Tour tree 30. Don’t your trees have their own mention on the tour?

Tour tree 30. Don’t your trees have their own mention on the tour?

Other highlights of that bucolic campus were the multiple buildings for art (including a separate printmaking studio), the repeated stress on student agency, and the amazing architecture. Seeing kids throwing frisbees on the grass was an added perk, as was the idea that students quickly figure out their favorite tree and claim it.

From there, we headed to Vermont, to spend time with my parents and finish out the college visits.

Bennington was next, a full day of class, tour, and interview. Mist turned the already-beautiful southern Vermont landscape into something out of a fairytale, and when the lawn outside the admissions office presented 2 adirondack chairs the photo just had to be taken. The immediate sense of welcome could not have been more clear - when we drove up, panicked at being late due to a GPS mis-direction, we were greeted with smiles and open arms by the 2 admissions interns who came into the parking lot to scoop up Bee to escort them to class.

  Imagine studying. Or reading. Or just chatting.

Imagine studying. Or reading. Or just chatting.

The final college on this round was Skidmore, a school we’d visited in the heat of August, squashed in with about 30 other prospective students. It’s my mom’s alma mater, and my sister-in-law’s, and a few other family members and friends too. The combination of art and solid academics make this really interesting; that it’s 45 minutes away from my parents is a nice bonus. Here Bee had an interview scheduled, and then a tour (to see if we learned anything new). In between we explored the campus a bit, hearing from Mom what she’d loved.

  Secret stone amphitheater in between the music and art buildings.

Secret stone amphitheater in between the music and art buildings.

Watching your children grown up into their own versions of themselves has to be one of the most rewarding parts of parenting. Seeing them walk around college campuses like they own them? That’s pretty cool too.

We’ll get back to boat projects and more practical cruising prep. This, though? It’s part of the process.