December 2007 Newsletter
While campus visits are the best way to learn about colleges, you can also find out about different colleges by talking with students who attend them. Wherever you go you meet college students or recent graduates. Take advantage of the opportunity and talk with them about what it is about their school that they love, what it is that makes their college so very special. Ask them if they’re happy, or if they wished they went somewhere else.
As a perk for sending my son and my money to Dartmouth College, I get an annual calendar with the most beautiful bucolic scenes reflecting happenings of the College on the Hill. Every year I look forward to this calendar because by just flipping through the pages I feel as if I’m on a mini visit. What really struck me in this year’s calendar was what was written on the inside cover:
“When asked, Dartmouth students have no trouble describing the things they love about the College. They are the same things that all of us love about Dartmouth. The sense of place. The comradeship. The excitement of learning. The traditions. The beauty and intimacy of the campus. The opportunity to become who you were meant to be – and gaining the confidence to know you can make a difference in the world.”
So if you’re in the throws of the college search process, talk to current students and recent alumni. Find out what they love about their college, and also what they wish they could change. Ask them why they decided to attend their school in the first place and to tell you about the academics, the extracurriculars, and the social scene. Find out what’s hot and what’s not, but just don’t take one person’s word for it – get a few different perspectives and a few different opinions.