How much can great marketing influence a school’s reputation

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: How much can great marketing influence a school’s reputation
By Justanothermom (Justanothermom) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 12:03 pm: Edit

We took our D to visit a very prestigious university this summer. The campus is gorgeous, reputation sterling, and ranking very high. I was expected to be blown over as I figured what’s not to like? I was in for a huge disappointment. The tour guide sounded semi-literate, the admissions officer’s presentation, while very smooth, was fraught with inconsistencies regarding the admission process. Needless to say, I left campus very puzzled about the hype. Could this experience be an isolated instance, or are certain institutions doing such a great job of marketing themselves that there’s little substance to their reputation? I really don’t know what to think.

By Cyclingdad (Cyclingdad) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 12:29 pm: Edit

I can honestly say that marketing contributed significantly to our sending our daughter to Dickinson. (But perhaps not as significantly as did the merit aid package.) Not that she was necessarily influenced by the marketing. But when it was down to about 4 schools, I read something written by Dickinson's president, and it turned me around in my thinking. As a result of that change of heart, my wife and I started actively encouraging D to look again at that school. In the end, she's starting there in 3 weeks. Dickinson is one of the schools that actively markets itself and is in keen competition with the many other LACs in Pennsylvania and the region. I don't believe that the marketing is empty rhetoric in this case, although they do seem pretty full of themselves sometimes. We, the parents, are very happy with the decision, now we have 4 years to see the outcome!

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 12:58 pm: Edit

I don't think your experience of being disappointed by a "prestigious" university is unique. We visited several prestigious schools with my daughter that left all of us shaking our heads.

Both my daughter and my wife are very familiar (on a daily basis) with one prestigious university in our area -- a school that people drool over on these forums. It's a great university. Yet, neither my wife nor daughter think the school offers a particularly attractive undergrad experience. Too big, too decentralized, notably lacking in a sense of "community", too many grad student TAs, too many large lecture courses, etc.

As for admissions spiel inconsistencies: I wouldn't hold that against a specific school. All of the elite colleges are caught up in several big white lies about the admissions process. The inconsistencies are inevitable because they really aren't telling the truth.

Any college could give you very specific information about your admissions chances by simply publishing acceptance rates and median SAT stats broken down by race/ethnicity, legacy vs. non-legacy, and varsity athlete vx. non-athelete. There is not a college in the United States that would voluntarily make this data available.

By Wjb (Wjb) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:05 pm: Edit

It's tough to make the trip to a college and have a less-than-stellar tour guide. It's also difficult not to conclude that the entire student body is comprised of similarly unimpressive kids. But I do think it's important to realize that your guide is probably not representative of the student body as a whole, especially if the college enjoys a fine reputation.

With respect to inconsistencies in the officer's discussion of the admission process, did the inconsistencies have to do with specific admission criteria? All colleges are trying to increase the number of applicants, and to that end admissions officers often backpedal to avoid directly answering questions about statistics/qualities needed for admission.

By Blossom (Blossom) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:15 pm: Edit

I guess it depends on what you were disappointed with. If the school has a fantastic reputation for fostering close relationships between student and faculty, and you discover that in fact, that's not the case... I think that's germane. If the "buzz" is that a school has fantastic undergraduate advising, has great med school admit rates, and top-notch career development for undergrads, and you saw that it's all hype-- once again, that's a relevant piece of disappointing news.

If however, you got one clod for a tour guide, and saw a campus that by and large, is as advertised, I'd write it off as a bad tourguide. We had heard that MIT was ugly... and it was. We had heard that Princeton was gorgeous... and it was. Either school could be a great fit or a poor fit for any particular kid, but the "hype" isn't all that relevant, unless your child insists on a green, pretty campus, in which case MIT would be a poor choice.

By and large, I've backed off of my early belief that visiting is a crucial exercise in the admissions process. So much is subjective, so much can be influenced by the weather, so much can be manipulated by the presence of overbearing parents on your tour, that I think it's really an overrated part of the process. Moreover, a lot of the visiting consists of falling in love with places your kid is going to get rejected from.... so how helpful is that????

By Idler (Idler) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:15 pm: Edit

Interestedad: good post

By Chinaman (Chinaman) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:24 pm: Edit

I went on my first few college tour and thought that if somehow if I take the name out of picture, then the most important factor was location and driving distance. All top colleges seesm to offer same things. Only difference I was thinking how much each school is going to dole out. And I do not have answers. Yes marketing did allow us to go to college with big merit scholarships. You will be surprised that even columbia offers a merit based scholaship "John Jay Scholar". Admission officer did hinted that it is something that our older kid must look into. And it is tempting. But who knows?

By Massdad (Massdad) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:50 pm: Edit

"the admissions officer’s presentation, while very smooth, was fraught with inconsistencies regarding the admission process"

There's a reason for this. Admissions folks really do not discuss the true nature of the process with the public. Instead, they dish out a collection of half truths, smokescreens and diversions. It has taken some hard work on the part of academics to ferret out the true circumstances. Just find a copy of "The Early Admissions Game" and you'll see what I mean.

Keep in mind also, that there is a downside to appearing too hungry. A lot of prospective customers (er, sorry, prospective students and their parents) are attracted by just a bit of arrogance, I fear.

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:53 pm: Edit

>> Admissions folks really do not discuss the true nature of the process with the public. Instead, they dish out a collection of half truths, smokescreens and diversions.

Yep. It's very disingenuous.

That's why I think it is so valuable for applicants and their parents to read a book like "The Gatekeepers" early in the process.

By Jnm123 (Jnm123) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 03:32 pm: Edit

Granted, we weren't expecting the red carpet to be rolled out for us when we visited a large, urban, fairly prestigious East Coast school last week. The info session and the campus tour were fine. The school-sponsored lunch that D had with a current student was pleasant & informative as well.

But the scheduled meeting with an undergrad advisor in D's proposed field came off not well at all, with the advisor not prepared in the least for D's and her mother's questions, not giving a tour of the department, and generally making us feel like her time was being invaded & she didn't want to be there at all.

If this were part of the process of a business transaction, I would be all over the president of the company for having such a person representing their firm. But although this IS business, in the background is the potential admissions process, the merit-based & financial aid, and my gut tells me that such a complaint could be counterproductive in the long run.

Anybody else in this type of predicament?

By Blossom (Blossom) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 03:40 pm: Edit

Why would you complain? You learned something about the school; presumably, that's why you took a day off of work to visit. Sounds to me like a day well spent.

Before I wrote the school off completely, however, I would ask myself if in any way I had contributed to the Advisor's irritation-- did we ask questions that are answered on the school's website? did we ask questions that are better answered elsewhere? Although this person should have been polite, if you're meeting with a departmental level person, that assumes you've done some preparation as well.

And I hate to be really obnoxious, but since you asked.... was there a reason why you attended a meeting between the prospective student and the departmental advisor??? maybe she felt her time was being invaded because nothing signals "waste of time" like Mommy sitting in on what should have been your daughter's opportunity to ask questions.

Admissions presentations are for parents and kids, unless they specifically ask the parents not to attend. Tours are for everyone, and we've seen granny and the toddlers included. One on one meetings, whether with an adcom or a professor or an advisor are designed for the student and not the parent.

By Originaloog (Originaloog) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 04:00 pm: Edit

Why are people on this site so afraid of naming the colleges that they are discussing? It doesn't make any sense to me. I have never been reluctant to name my alma maters(OSU & Cornell), my wife's(Rensselaer), or the colleges my son applied to(Wooster, Case, Oberlin, Allegheny, and Rensselaer). The only one I do not name is the state flagship university in order to maintain some degree of anonymity(OSU, PSU, BingoU, RU, Umd-CP, or OtherU????)

Identifying adds to the usefulness of the post and allows for more meaningful discussion. I cannot comment on a discussion involving Uof? or ? College. In many instances I ? the validity of these anonymous posts.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 04:01 pm: Edit

Gee, they gave you a free lunch AND set up a one on one meeting? At a large, urban university? IMHO, you got the red carpet treatment!

The only meeting with an undergrad advisor my D had was at the institution where I did my grad work, and the department chair for that department was my thesis advisor! So my D had the inside track there.

By Justanothermom (Justanothermom) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 04:22 pm: Edit

Thanks so much for the insights and book recommendations. I will purchase those books. As D is only a rising junior, we are just starting the process so have lots to learn.

To expand from my initial posting:

It was more than a bad tour guide. It probably had to do with expectations and the totality of the visit. I know for a fact that there are some really bright kids at that school (my D knows one of them). I also know that the school is probably a very solid institution. I just wondered whether it is as great academically as advertised. The packaging was so glossy, the presentation way too smooth, and the tangibles somewhat lacking other than the beautiful campus. My H and I left shaking our heads as well. Of course, that starting me thinking if this was endemic and, if so, how was D supposed to sift through all the packaging to make an intelligible decision.

As to the admissions inconsistencies and half-truths: Your comments confirmed our expectations. We just didn’t expect it to be so blatantly obvious that most of the criteria were “smokescreens” (great description, by the way!) I felt that they were insulting our intelligence and would have preferred greater vagueness instead. At least, I would have understood that and I wouldn’t have been left wondering how honest they were being about everything else discussed.

Loog, I understand what you mean. My only reluctance in naming the school is that, as my original post indicated, I’m not at all sure that my impression of this school is a valid one. I wanted general information to validate or refute that first impression. Why start a war about the relative merits of a particular school or discourage others from making their own impressions when I’m not sure myself?

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 06:45 pm: Edit

The school my son chose to attend was the one that was the most "bare-bones" in the admissions session. The person in charge at the event was the VP of Enrollment Management (at that time the Dean of Admissions). He took the bold approach of telling the kids that they needed to pick the school they felt they most fit in, whether it was his school ot not. It was the first time I had heard statistics explained and interpreted. It was the first time that I had heard that many of the top schools choose which students they will recommend for med, law and even graduate school, hence their extremely high numbers. It was about comparing apples and oranges and deciding what you want and what works best for you. Eye opening and exciting to finally hear it put out there in a "here's what we are, here's who we are, here's what we offer...if you like us, please apply, if we're not your cup of tea, we wish you the best of luck elsewhere kind of format. In my opinion it was marketing genius. It was my son's second info session. Unfortunately for the other schools, it equipped my son with the knowledge he needed to see some of the sessions for the marketing bs they were. He just kept coming back to what he learned at that session, and now he's headed there this fall. Apparently others like the approach as well as applications skyrocketed there. I hope they keep the honesty thing going. If ever there was a time and place for truth in marketing, the college decision is it.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 07:16 pm: Edit

Alongfortheride, how refreshing. Are you naming names?

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 07:19 pm: Edit

Loog, it was Tulane.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 07:21 pm: Edit

My D attends Brown, and while the tour guide was good (funny, knowledgable), he didn't take us inside any buildings (D went on an overnight later) and the admissions session was terrible (so overcrowded there wasn't even any standing room left). Personally, I don't care about the quality of the tour guide or the info session, but I know those things matter greatly to others.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 08:37 pm: Edit

Visits are not always full of the information they should be giving to us. You really have to keep in all in perspective. If you happen to catch a school on a wet, nasty day, get a bad tour guide, talk to an adcom whose mind is not on the task at hand and have lunch with a group of kids that are not your kid's type (or yours) at all, you can form a bad impression of a school that overall could be wonderful for your student. It is such a shame that the marketing, the admissions office and tour guides should have such a front line for those of us who really want to know what a school is like. Once your student is in the college, he does not have to do one thing with the admissions department, will not have to look at the viewbook or deal with the tourguides. I find warnings about red tape in registering for classes, cuts in financial aid once you get in, lots of grad students teaching recitations and grading tests and papers, difficulty in getting courses you want, lop sided social scene (against what your student is looking for), things like that more ominous than a rude adcom.

It's ironic that with visits becoming de rigeur that we can end up with less information or wrong information than in the old days when we had to go by written descriptions and word of mouth to get the feel of many colleges.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 09:41 pm: Edit

Taken against the backdrop of all the things that Jamimom mentions- red tape, grade students etc...I still feel that they way prospective students are treated in some way reflects on the quality of thought given to other aspects of a student's college experience. For example, at one school our tour guide (and it was only my son and I on the tour) was new, so an experienced guide was sent with her- although the newbie was competent and an effort had been made to match her with my son in terms of interest. Now, admittedly that is one end of the spectrum- but it shows care and concern, which is the reputation of the school as well. On the other end of the spectrum was the adcom who could not answer (didn't seem to understand) fairly straightforward questions about the school. He was an alum of the school (which has a stellar reputation), presumably had been selected for the job he was doing, and, I'm sorry, but he reflected poorly on the quality of the education at that school- and on the effort the school makes to inform prospective applicants.

So, while we have tried to make it only a part of our evaluation process- we let our gut feelings related to these issues inform us as well.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 10:05 pm: Edit

Rhonda and Jamimom, I agree with you guys! A kid can get an erroneous or inaccurate impression simply from the info. session or tour guide.

Like Rhonda, I have a kid going to Brown. I recall when we did our first visit there. This was the only school where at the info. session, they would NOT give any attendee who was a junior a brochure. They would only let seniors take one. Now, I thought this was really wrong and did not experience this anywhere else. I mean, aren't ya supposed to visit in junior year so you know where you might wish to apply? Getting the initial brochure as a senior is a little on the late side. But besides that, I think if a family travels far to visit the college and attend the info. session and tour and other things, they are entitled to the written info. just like another person in attendance. It was really weird to sit in this waiting room for the session to begin and half the kids were perusing the brochure and we could not view a thing. We had to ask someone if we could take a brief look at thiers. I can maybe see not mailing them out to just anyone but for juniors making the trek to visit the school, come on! Then, that particular day was a rainy day. We did have a full visit that included the info. session, tour, meeting with a student who had gone to our high school and seeing his dorm, meeting with a faculty member, etc. My daughter liked everything and definitely decided to apply. That was in Nov. of her junior year and was one of the first schools she saw.

When she was eventually admitted and at that time had said that Brown was one of her three favorites on her list, she needed to return for a second visit, this time to the two day admitted student events and overnight. Well, of course this one part is just luck but those two days were GORGEOUS summery weather in April and the entire impression of the school and campus was light years better than the first visit. She even said she could not believe how much better it seemed on this visit. In the rain, the campus looked different and we do not recall even seeing the grassy greens or anything (part of it was also the fact that it was 18 months later). Also of course she did way more, spent a night in the dorm, met with many more students, attended numerous events, met with more faculty and also had appointments with students in certain extracurricular activities she hoped to join at the school, as well as a varsity coach. The impression was quite different than the first visit. That is why you can't just go by first impressions or simply the tour or info. session. In fact, the sum of these two days of events and meetings and the various contacts she made with students and adults on campus made her say to me after being apart from me for 24 hours (I attended panels and events aimed at the parents and she was on her own for her events and appointments and overnight), "I'm going here!" The whole two day event and what she gleaned from it was so much, enough to totally clinch the deal. And in fact, had it been simply what she got out of that first visit, I don't know. It really took this second deeper visit to really get to know the place and the people. Like I said, when the admissions letters all came out, she was unsure of which school to pick. So, that first visit alone did not clinch it in her mind.

First impressions are important but don't tell the entire story. You gotta dig deeper, spend more time, meet more people, see more things, beyond what the admissions office presents. And don't forget, the weather itself affects impressions! It looked WAY better in nice weather, in this case! There were so many parts of campus...greens, dorms, and so forth, never ever noticed on the first trip and the official tour.


By Justanothermom (Justanothermom) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 10:37 pm: Edit

Alongfortheride: We had a similar positive experience at Caltech. They explained what kind of students they were intent in recruiting; they were brutally honest about the course load that was expected of them; they admitted that Caltech was not for most everyone; and they even recommended a visit to Harvey Mudd for another "tech" viewpoint. I thought that honesty was a great marketing strategy and my D really liked the school. We left impressed despite the fact that the tour guide never showed up and that we only had a cursory look of classrooms and dorms. Go figure.

I agree with you, Jamimom. It seems like such a good idea to go traipsing all over the country to find the “right fit,” and then it makes you wonder. Of course, I was one of those kids who didn’t think about college until way into senior year and went to the local U sight unseen. It is hard to fathom now, but it worked for me. I wonder if exhaustion will drive us to the old ways.

One thing made clear by all the great advice is that there’s a lot of research to be done even before applying. It seems daunting. I just don’t know how willing and able D will be to put the time and effort. I wanted to be well-informed for general support and guidance, but had hoped not to interfere too much in the selection process. Now I’m not so sure what the right approach is.

By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 11:14 pm: Edit

Justanothermom, Your experience at Caltech is a case in point. We had a guide for us & a man, and son was allowed to sit in classes all day. They apologized that he could not do an overnight, but we knew this when aranged the date.
At other schools, he was able to talk to dept. heads, and always allowed to sit in classes. Tour guides were mixed.
I went to college 'sight unseen', and would never recommend that route. I suspect a balance would be to visit sm, med, large; urban, college town. I don't see how people can really visit 12 or more, yet there are clearly wonderful, uniques schools out there.

By Justanothermom (Justanothermom) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 11:48 pm: Edit

Bookworm, Did I understand you correctly that you had similar experience at Caltech? It would be really nice to corraborate that first impression.

By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 07:27 am: Edit

I meant we had good guide, and since so few of us, it was personal. Other kids would come by to answer specific questions. S didn't ask to see dept. heads, because he will never run out of courses. Mostly, Adm Dir and S discussed 'fit' and why an IT over a LAC or university. Like you, they were honest about workload (which scared me), the type of students, and GPA. My S could care less about dorms, so tour guide focussed on me for that. (At another school, my S basically told me to tour dorms, since I'm more particular.)
On larger tours, we met the chatty parents, asking questions that are covered elsewhere. Caltech had a movie first that answered basic Qs.
At one school, where S got generous merit $, it was obvious they lacked the depth in his field. Still, they couldn't have been nicer to us, and I've since referred other kids to this school.
I know I'm posting long, but the difference between the privates and our state school became so obvious during this process. Private schools always responded to phone call inquiries, even mundane Qs about hotels in area, yet our state U lost paperwork 3x!

By Justanothermom (Justanothermom) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 09:47 am: Edit

Bookworm, Thanks for the follow-up. The workload scared me too, although it didn't seem to bother my D. She assures me that the cooperative environment would make a huge difference. Interesting that there were so few people during your visit. It was standing room only when we were there.

This thread seems to have gotten completely off topic, though. Any other opinions on the original question?

By Jnm123 (Jnm123) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 10:20 am: Edit

Blossom et al---

I think this is the first time in all my various posts that I have NOT mentioned the specific school involved re: a personal experience. And let's be honest--in this instance, the reasons are obvious. For one, college adcoms read CC. And secondly, with a D who's a rising senior, we're just starting the whole admissions & merit aid dance, necessitating putting one's best foot forward.

I don't see anywhere on my post that stated the not-so-great meeting with an undergrad advisor that my D and my wife (who is in the same field that D is aspiring to--I think that's reason in itself for a parent's presence there) attended is putting halt on her eventually applying to the school. That would be ludicrous. It's still in her sights, as are 5 or 6 universities of varying characteristics.

So, take this info for what it's worth, turn the flame down and read posts a little more carefully in the future.

By Mrsh8b (Mrsh8b) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 01:05 pm: Edit

I travelled to many campuses with my kids and I think the visits are important. If the school hires admissions people to represent them and they can't answer basic questions about curriculum, AP credit, etc. that does tell something about a school. Tour guides may be the only contact prospective students have with current students. My daughters and I did not always agree on whether or not a school was a good fit but we most often did agree on if the information was well presented. Attending programs for admitted students was probably the most helpful. Some schools offered classes and lunch. Others offered overnight visits and opportunities to meet not only current students but also potential incoming students. One school set up housing for my daughter for a three night visit in an offcampus house a mile from the campus. Though she found a way to move onto campus after the first night, she chose a different school.

By Concerneddad (Concerneddad) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 01:39 pm: Edit

The only "bad" visit my son had was at the University of Chicago. For those who have seen the recent markting by U of C, you know that they are really trying to change their image as a stodgy, intellectual school, to a place where you can get a great education and have fun too. My son was a football recruit and had a great meeting with the head coach -- maybe the best raport he had with any of the head coaches at the time.

But -- there is always a but -- the kid who led the tour later -- was the worst stereotype of the "stodgy" U of C student. And, to put the nail in the coffin for my son, he did not but deride the student-atheltes at U of C. After that experience, he did not even file and application.

You would think that the admissions dept. would want tour guides who are at least in sync with the school's marketing plan.

By Cyclingdad (Cyclingdad) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 12:02 pm: Edit

I can't help but comment, Concerneddad. So based on ONE PERSON, your son may have passed up a great college experience? I'm not knocking you or your son. It just points up the arbitrary nature of trying to make such an important decision with very limited information, whether the decision is based on the sales literature, a guided tour, a drive-thru, or a conversation with a student. We've all been there with our children, I think. In order to do it right (if there is a "right"), it would require simply more time, resources and energy than any family has. The folks that have posted reports of visits here have done an excellent job. Yet in reading them, there still seem to be a lot random decisions being made by the students. I'm not saying that's wrong. Of all of the techniques, I think that overnight visits might be the most helpful, after becoming familiar with the basics through the literature/website. Of course overnights require the most time and effort.

By Cangel (Cangel) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 12:10 pm: Edit

Cyclingdad, you are exactly right BUT!
We're talking about teenagers, not us obsessed 40 somethings. I think most of the decisions are random, AND sometimes even the few kids that truly put the effort into researching, will make a random decision based on one person they met during a visit, even an overnight. Think about the arbitrary college decisions we made, most of us without ever setting foot in a dorm!

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 02:56 pm: Edit

I do think that college decisions are largely arbitrary, unless you get lucky.

I am sure that a positive tour guide influenced my daughter on her first visit to Swat -- although, interestingly, he was a self-described jock, party boy (the opposite of what my daughter had in mind for college) and she STILL liked him.

Over the next year, she made an opportunity to meet and talk to half a dozen different people connected to the school -- alumni, current students, professors, staff. Even though these people were all very different, they sang EXACTLY the same song about their experience at the college. I think it was the consistency and enthusiasm from all of these people that led to my daughter having no reservations.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:07 pm: Edit

InterestedDad, that's just it. Your daughter really did explore the school and talked to several different people and garnered many perspectives, spent an overnight, etc. While even that has a little bit of arbitrary decision making involved even still, it is at least a pretty informed decision compared to many I read about. Many trip reports seem to only include the tour or a drive by type thing and you gotta wonder that beyond simply first impressions, if the kid really delved beyond the surface enough to really say if he would be interested or not. I am in an email loop to do with college admissions, and someone wrote up a trip report of a many colleges in one trip type thing. After hours of traffic and driving, they got to Brown, missed the tour, only ate at a local eatery near campus and talked to one person. Kid does not seem interested even though the school was likely a match to his criteria. Did not see the city of Providence at all, so wrote it off. I was astonished how little was done at each school for the kid to remotely know if he liked it. And this was true of what sounded like minimal things done on several campuses on their tour. As I said, even with all your kid did or mine did on each campus, there still is no way to know for certain but it is at least a somewhat INFORMED decision with many perspectives and in depth exploration on the visits.


By Justanothermom (Justanothermom) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:28 pm: Edit

I think that whether we want to or not, first impressions count; maybe more than they should. Since I was more favorably impressed with other schools we visited, I know that I will spend more time researching those than the one I referred to in my original post.

If that school ends up being D's favorite choice, I'm sure that I will attempt to revise my opinion. However, even after reading all the great advice here, I realized that my gut feelings are important too. Unfairly or not, it will take quite a bit to dissuade me that the school in question is as great as it is advertised to be.

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:44 pm: Edit

>> InterestedDad, that's just it. Your daughter really did explore the school and talked to several different people and garnered many perspectives, spent an overnight, etc.

Yes. But, had her ED app been rejected, I think her selection would have been somewhat more arbitrary. However, the initial survey visits did help cull the list and allow all of us to start learning more about each school.

I think she had a pretty good handle on the pros and cons of the three schools next on her list: Williams, Emory, and Davidson. However, that choice would have been made with less personal contact. That's OK, too. My attitude is that there are hundreds of schools that could provide a great college experience.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 03:55 pm: Edit

"My attitude is that there are hundreds of schools that could provide a great college experience. "

I very much agree with this. I think my daughter really liked every school on her list and could not go wrong. That is why it was hard to find a single clear cut favorite. She sort of had piles of most favorite, a little less favorite and like a lot but not as favorite as the others. In fall of senior year, she had two first choices and applied EA to one of them. As the winter progressed she had three first choices. It ends up that she is going to one of these. But I was grateful in a way that she was not dead set on any one single school or else.

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