College Tours: Start ‘Em Early

27 Apr

I am a Counselor at a private university in Southern California and have been working there for 4.5 years now. I work closely with the Admissions Office at our institution and it’s that time again, recruiting our new class. So many excited and nervous students and families visiting our campus to determine if this is where they will spend the next four years of their life and subsequently graduate from. Will this be home? Will this place be somewhere they can thrive, they can learn, they can gain the skills that will help them land a career and be successful? I didn’t fully realized the real impact of these decisions until I started working here. It’s easy when you are a teenager and in your early twenties to make decisions ‘for all the wrong reasons’ and not to realize the impact of your decisions. Sometimes back then you wanted to just ‘make the wrong choice” because that meant that you were rebelling against something (fill in the blank). It takes years to realize the consequences (good and bad) of our decisions.

When I was a kid I was told over and over: “you are going to college” by my parents, teachers, and society. “You need to do well in your courses now so that you can get into good classes in Jr. High, then High School so you can get into college” and that’s a great message. This message was coupled with another message from society: “You can do anything, you can be anything you want to be” well that’s great too. Very encouraging. But… I wanted to be a runway model but I am short and lots of my friends wanted to be professional baseball players but they kept striking out. So plan B right? I was fortunate enough to have reason-minded parents who circled back to: what can you do (within reach in reality) to get a job and hopefully it’s a job you like.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in dreams and working hard to achieve them and if I had delved down real deep and came up with the utmost desire to be a journalist, I would have made it happen. But as I got a little more into college courses I realized that I had other interests and wanted a different life. When I applied to colleges, most I hadn’t even ever visited, I had no idea what I was going to be walking into. I must admit, I did not do my homework. After having applied and accepted my admission to University of California, Santa Cruz I visited the campus for the first time not even knowing that it was near the ocean – yea… it’s like on the ocean (not that that’s a problem). Now, even with all the guessing and walking in blind to things I turned okay- like many others. But I want to help guide a different story for my daughter.

This past weekend Dan needed to visit the UCLA campus because he was asked to guest lecture for an Accounting course and needed to figure out where he would be going. We made a little day of it as we were having to go ‘over the hill’ into LA. We spent time walking around UCLA and taking in the beautiful campus. After leaving we went to Pepperdine in Malibu briefly to check out the views. I told Dan that I want to take advantage of visiting many college campus’ and helping our kids explore careers and majors that interest them and will help them to be successful in the future. I want my kids to have a real sense of where they are going to be going and what lies ahead. I think it’s tough to help someone navigate their first steps of their future but I am hoping with the experience that Dan and I have will help us to assist with this task with our kids.

pep 1

Dan and Madeline on Pepperdine’s Campus which overlooks the amazing Malibu coast. pep2


Our fam at UCLA and Madeline and I in front of the Bruin Bear :). ucla1

2 Responses to “College Tours: Start ‘Em Early”

  1. Kath April 27, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    Your and Dan’s experiences will be invaluable when it comes to helping your children navigate their way through college to ‘the real world’…hopefully they’ll be open to what you have to say, or they will learn too by working it out for themselves.

  2. Kath April 27, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    P.S. – the pics are so cute!

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