If you’re a frequent visitor, you might know that Vampire Boy is a senior in high school. He is interested in continuing his education and has been working with his dad on college applications. Dad had a good idea — let him apply to colleges within a reasonable driving distance, see where he gets accepted, and then visit those campuses for him to decide where he wants to go.
We had our first college visit this past weekend! As a family unit!
Some background: Dad and I separated in March 2001 with our divorce being final in February 2006 (finally!). It was not a pretty separation thanks to child support issues. Things have been decent on and off over the past five years and I like that we finally seem to be able to have a decent divorced relationship.
Dad and Vampire Boy worked on applications and acceptances started coming in. OK, time to look at the Open House schedules and plan a campus visit. Dad invited me to come along (I had planned on going whether I was invited or not and driving myself if I had to!) and offered for me to ride along with them. Other than the hours we spent sitting on separate sides of the Family Division waiting room, it would be the first time we spent such a substantial part of the day together with the kids.
First visit was this past weekend. Dad picked us up at 6:45 AM for our hour drive. I was worried things would be a little weird, but we got along just fine. We talked and joked around in the car as I presume a ‘normal’ family would. We sat as a family in each of the informational sessions. We went on a campus tour. We checked out the residence halls. We visited the Science building and spoke to one of the chemistry faculty. At one point, we both leaned around from our auditorium seats to look at Vampire Boy when they were explaining that all communication is sent to his University mailbox — his ID was included in his acceptance letter — a mailbox he NEVER looked at! (This makes more sense when I explain that we went to his Open House blindly. He had registered, but did not receive any email or postal mail confirmation of his attendance, and I didn’t think about it until he received a packet from another school confirming his attendance.)
We all loved the campus. We liked the fact that it’s a smaller campus within a reasonable driving distance. We liked the chemistry department and faculty. We liked the student to teacher ratio within the chemistry department (his interest for now). He came away from this Open House knowing that this is where he wants to go to school. I’m trying to encourage him to visit at least one more, but the next Open House is at a larger campus and he is adamant he likes the smaller campus. I don’t think I’m going to win the battle to get him to look any other campuses. I’m ok with that since I did the same exact thing when visiting business schools for myself many (many, many) years ago.
Holy shit, my ‘baby’ is looking forward to going off to college in the Fall.