There are many pandemic tragedies well beyond the good part of the college process. I’m sure “first world problem” will be the classification of this particular issue. But I feel badly for both students and parents who are missing the best part – perhaps the only good part! – of the college application process: visiting colleges.
There is a certain excitement that occurs when students visits schools they like. They start picturing the fun parts of college. They meet people on the tour. They see students having fun. They might attend a class of interest. They can see with absolute certainty that “college” is better than “high school”.
Most importantly, they also understand that colleges vary greatly from one another. And that while “college” is better than “high school”, not every college will be a great fit.
This understanding makes college counseling for students more efficient. I might note while college counseling that “you don’t seem like the type who would love a big school”. The student will nod because they have visited the big schools and then we discuss why my sense that tailgating before the big game, going to the game, and fraternity parties might not fit them. And, of course, the converse is true: “I’m pretty sure that you will love big schools….!”
Now, our work might even be more valuable because we have to provide detail that students simply don’t have regarding how colleges differ from one to another.
We also have to instill a sense of excitement. Happy to do so, just wish our students had the opportunity to be excited without our input.