I am pleased to report that after three straight weeks of 24/7 planning, I have finalized arrangements to embark on a whole new spring break college tour, this time with our younger son, GC (Good Conversationalist).
Figuring out the logistics was a full-time job: There was laughter as we read between the lines of the Fiske Guide. There were tears of frustration when GC announced that he had a commitment at home on the day I had reserved our first visit. There was anxiety when I looked up the schools on his list on Naviance – although he has a balance of urban, rural, D1, D3, public and private, he is visiting mostly reaches, super-reaches and crapshoots. There were angry phone calls to Thrifty, with pleas for reduced drop-off fees. Then, finally, after a meeting with the dean, we utilized two Delta mileage awards, purchased four changeable Southwest "wanna-get-away" fares, booked several hotels with Hilton Honors points, and memorized countless Amtrak and Bolt Bus schedules.
Have I ever mentioned that our two sons are very different? CJ, the elder, is a gifted mathematician/sports fanatic/fratstar who probably could not name the governor of the state where he goes to school. GC, the younger, is a compulsive newshound/indie rock fan/quasi-intellectual who brings up issues at the dinner table like "Do you think ten years from now there will still be such a thing as countries?"
One would imagine that the two would have completely different college lists. One would expect that GC would want to check out schools like Reed or the University of Chicago. But somehow, because of his desire for a classic college experience, we have ended up with an shockingly similar itinerary for Child #2. Other than the omission of the four schools we saw (in one day) in upstate New York, we are going to many of same places of higher learning that I visited with CJ three years ago – During our ten-day expedition, I will be a repeat visitor at all but two universities.
But there are other significant changes. Because GC hates to get up early (especially in EST), we *only* have eight schools on our list this time, compared with the fourteen we saw in 2008.
And once again, we are not concentrating on one geographic area the way you're supposed to – the eight colleges are in eight different states. To avoid too much bonding time, we will be traveling with another family for half the trip, and also meeting up with random classmates in other locations. We will travel at a more mellow pace, sticking to just one tour per day, and will spend full weekends in two locations. But this time, our son is actually attending classes. He has checked ahead and booked a concert in New York. And, of course, being the good conversationalist, he has even scheduled an interview or two.