I have three children. My oldest has graduated from college. My second is a senior this year in college.
They are boys.
My third, my daughter, is going away to college August 27. At noon that day, we start moving her into her residence hall/dorm two hours away. It might as well be on the moon, in some ways.
As a higher education professional my entire career, I am trusting her university of choice to better her life, to foster her growth as a human being, and to help her find her way down the right path. She will hopefully learn to think more critically and try new things. She will find her parents did a good job of laying a foundation on which she can build. Blah, blah, blah.
Again, she is my daughter. My only daughter.
Who wanted her? She is compassionate and kind, and clever more than smart. Her test scores were solid if not exceptional, her GPA for a college prep/AP curriculum were solid. She is undecided, not because she can’t make up her mind as much as she hasn’t yet found yet her passion. So they all came after her.
Brochures came by the hundreds, the phone rang by the dozens, five-ish campus visits happened, and more brochures came. Boxes filled with unopened mail.
Admission reps told her she would not be a number (she noted they use a LOT of numbers to make their point). Tenacious student callers best-friended her for few quick minutes (“no means no” covers interest in your college, too—accept it and move on). Campus tour guides did their best to explain how their caring faculty was different than the other guys.
In the end, she chose a college based on fit, and one she can’t describe. At all. She knows no one there. She had never been there before. The scholarship is nice but not unlike other places. No single professor or student or admission representative stood out.
She just “felt right” there. Period.
So, the best professional advice I can offer from this experience is be yourself. Put your best effort forward but be genuine. Start there, warts and all. Students and parents want and need that.
My best personal advice? I…I can’t. I’ll start crying again.