Feb 142013
Teen Summer Camp Choices: When Did This Become A High Stakes Decision?

For better or worse, the ways that older teens spend summer vacations have become just as important to the college application process as grades, essays, recommendations and SAT scores.  Whether its volunteer service, family travel, a summer job or a summer camp program, these experiences demonstrate what is important to the teen and are likely to became fodder for the all important common application college essay, which this year will ask students to bare their souls to admission staff, in 650 words or less, by crafting a highly personal and  insightful response to one of the following questions: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your [...]

Dec 042012
Find Family Ski Fun on Campus During a Visit to Middlebury College

Internationally recognized Middlebury College, located in the Champlain Valley of Vermont, is well known for its challenging liberal arts curriculum and its excellence in foreign language studies.  Founded in 1800, the college is home to 2,500 undergraduates from 50 states and dozens of foreign countries. Many of its students choose Middlebury for the excellent academics combined with the opportunity to spend four years living at a historic  New England campus surrounded by beautiful views of the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks plus unlimited access to all variety of outdoor adventures in any season.  According to Wikipedia, “The campus is known as “Club Midd” because of its bucolic setting and the quality of its recreational and residential facilities.” If your family vacation or college visit plans bring you to this part of New England during the winter, be sure to save some time [...]

Oct 202012
Parents' Weekend Leaf Peeping Near UMass Amherst in Central Massachusetts

Parents’ Weekends are often the first chance that parents of college freshman have to catch up with their student since they said goodbye on drop-off day.  By now, your student has made friends, found his way around campus, and settled into social routines that seem to involve staying up all night and sleeping until noon on the weekends.  As a result, many parents find themselves with time on their hands on Saturday morning of Parents Weekend.  During our recent trip to #1 Son’s Parents’ Weekend at UMass Amherst, mom and dad killed some time by exploring the Pioneer Valley and small towns near Amherst.  We visited just before peak fall foliage colors were unflured, but our ramblings still offered some stunning views both on campus and off. If you plan to visit central Massachusetts and the Amherst [...]

Aug 162012
A Travel Milestone: Packing for College

For 19 years we have tried to pack light when traveling but not this time.  College move in day  is two weeks away and we can’t believe the pile of stuff we have accumulated!  Linens, storage containers, school supplies, clothes, computer, text books, and lots, lots more  … For families that have a child going to college several states, or even countries, away, the best strategy seems to be bringing the clothes from home but  ordering as much as you can online from one of the big box stores and picking it up when you arrive at the college.  Then, plan for a blitzkrieg run to the local drug store or mall for the rest of whatever you need.   Since #1 Son is going to be just two hours from home we took [...]

Aug 062012
Parents Can Take a Break To Enjoy Boston After the College Move-in Frenzy!

The City of Boston reports that 35 colleges are located inside the city limits and they collectively enroll over 150,000 students.  Add in students from universities in nearby Cambridge, Medford, and Waltham and you pretty quickly surpass 250,000 students.   While about a third of undergrads will move into dorms, most of the grad students and the rest of the undergrads settle into rental apartments and houses.  These students arrive from all over the world, many with parents and siblings coming along for the trip.  Most arrive the last week of August or the first week or two of September. Virtually every lease in the city runs from September 1 to August 31. For parents bringing their student to move into Boston for the first time, our major piece of advice is to avoid September [...]

Jun 252012
Tips to Help Say Goodbye: College Orientation for Freshman Parents

In this era of helicopter parenting, more and more colleges are offering  parallel freshman orientation programs for students and parents.  Our recent summer orientation at UMass Amherst is pretty typical – the soon to be freshman check in for a two-day session to meet with advisers, finalize housing choices and start to learn their way around campus.  They get their ID cards, learn how to use the online registration and scheduling system, eat in the cafeteria, stay up late in the dorms and start making new friends. For parents, the optional two day program was filled with sessions devoted to how to pay your bill on-line, college policies about substance abuse and drinking, and information about students rights, i.e. you pay the bill and the college doesn’t have to tell you anything about their grades, behavior [...]

Apr 302012
The College Search Concludes! It's UMass Amherst!

As any parent of a college-bound high school senior knows, May 1 is the decision and deposit due date for most college admission acceptances.  After visiting 14 different colleges, writing more than a dozen common application, supplement and scholarship essays, and participating in 3 accepted student programs #1 Son’s final decision is UMass Amherst – the very first college we looked at when we began this process 18 months ago in August of 2010. In case you are wondering why UMass Amherst?  In the beginning of his search, #1 Son was strongly focused on small liberal arts schools that offered highly interactive classes.  In fact, many of the schools he visited and applied to were only slightly larger than his high school.  He ended up applying to 7 colleges, most of them small.  He included UMass [...]