Wednesday’s Parent: College Visits and the Illogical


college visitsI will never forget Nancy Berk’s chapter in her book, College Bound and Gagged, when she talks about college visits. It only seems fitting as we revisit the student role in the college visit that I share Nancy’s story of a fairly common visit since we are revisiting the student’s role in the college visit today. She calls it “The Tour de Chance” and it goes like this:

Yes, there’s a chance you could land on campus and your teen will refuse to get out of the car. It’s pretty common, totally baffling, and goes something like this . . .

Son: I’ve seen enough; let’s go.

Parent: But we haven’t even parked the car yet.

Son: You don’t think I can tell already? I DON’T like it here.

Parent: But we’re finally here. Let’s get out and look around.

Once the visit is completed, the verdict is in and it’s far from logical. The campus can be breathtaking and the tour guide engaging, but don’t assume your teen’s impression will reflect that. Rejection rationale is not logical or consistent across high school juniors and seniors. Rejection reasons are often bipolar. They include:

  • Too many beautiful students–it’s not normal
  • Too many badly dressed students–it’s not normal
  • Gloomy weather–totally depressing
  • Too much sunshine–totally depressing

During tour experiences, parents wait for logical academic rejection reasons. Instead they are bombarded with reasons related to fashion, temperature, food and architecture. One friend was perplexed by the value her daughter placed on dormitory bathroom configurations.

Still seemingly ridiculous rejection reasons are easier to understand than the vague one most parents hear–“I just don’t like the look”. Teens can’t explain it, but they are 100% certain from “the look” that this college experience will be the worst one.

For more student college visit quirks check out my previous blog: The Student Role in the College Visit

And then read Wendy’s post: Must-know tricks and tips for successful college visits 


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Wendy and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Wendy and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from parentscountdowntocollegecoach to and vice versa.

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