By Gregory Moore
This weekend I was a part of an experience that I didn’t have when I was a senior in high school.
My girlfriend and I took it upon ourselves to help her 18-year-old nephew get a feel for what college he may want to attend and so far we have done three onsite visits and drove by two others. This past weekend, we did the Houston trip and visited Prairie View A&M, the University of Houston and drove through the campuses of Rice University and Texas Southern.
About three weeks ago we were at the University of North Texas.
Let me say that this was one of the best experiences I’ve ever been privileged to be a part of and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.
Things were definitely different when I graduated from high school back in the 1980s and so a college visit wasn’t something I really wanted or needed but for kids graduating in today’s world, the visits are something that could help make a difficult decision a little easier.
What I also saw was the involvement of many parents and that is something these kids really do need. That participation was evidently present at the UNT and U of H visit.
If you are thinking that kids aren’t appreciative of their parents taking an interest in their educational success, think again.
Maybe it isn’t the numbers that tell the story but of the few that really give a damn that count.
Now I’m speaking from a position of not being a parent but of just being someone who is in the corner of a potential college student. For him, just knowing that there are people willing to do whatever is necessary for him to succeed is appreciative and he has been very receptive to what has been presented. That has definitely been evident when we were at Prairie View and at U of H.
But what was also apparent was the involvement and he wasn’t the only one who noticed that.
While at Prairie View, it became apparent that the big group we were in were more worried about ‘extracurricular’ activities rather than important matters. When the group splintered off into a very manageable eight kids, I could immediately tell that this group was about wanting to succeed if they went there.
And what struck me as true sincerity from the campus guide was how he waited for us “old’ folks.
In his words, “We are going to wait for someone’s parent because this is important to her and her child.”
That was something that set that particular visit apart from the others.
At the Houston visit, our campus guide gave off a piece of wisdom that I think every potential college freshman should adhere to; go to a school where you are going to be comfortable at for the next four years.
Now whether your child goes to Incarnate Word or UTSA or even a big school or a small school, his or her comfort level is going to be crucial to the college success story.
At the U of H visit, the campus guide explained that there were programs available to incoming freshmen to help them cope with college life. From study forums to even on campus psychologists who can help them get a grip on their new surroundings, this was something that made that visit unique.
One parent asked about campus safety and the guide put everyone’s worries to rest by pointing out the numerous ‘Code Blue’ call boxes that puts a student in contact with the campus police department. Many fears were also put to rest by the pointing out of the numerous security cameras on campus. That assurance was needed because of the close proximity to a residential neighborhood which has a high school and Texas Southern University in a five block radius to the U of H campus.
As tiring as these visits were over the weekend, the fact that I came away with something that all parents should come away with is astounding to me. That astonishment is the fact that kids really do appreciate the old folks taking an interest in their well being.
I think we have maybe one or two more visits planned in the coming months but let me say this to all those parents who are in the same boat that I find myself in: push your child to do a college visit.
I’m not talking about bonding moment here in so much as I am talking about an educational one that will help them make a tough choice in their life.
No matter where your child ends up, I think the experience that you will get will be as important as what he or she will get from their perspective.
I know it changed my perspective on a lot of campuses and all of them were for the better.
No matter what happens though, you will soon realize how appreciate your child is for the effort you took in making their choice a little easier and that is something no brochure can ever give you.