Coffee Talk 10.15.17

Greetings, friends! So we’ve had a pretty exciting week! Let’s start with our biggest news — although it’s not really mine. My son got two college acceptance letters in the mail this week.

The first came on Tuesday from University of Pittsburgh, and the second came yesterday from West Chester University. WCU is a state college situated on the outskirts of a small, vibrant downtown area not too far from where we live (he would live on campus) and Pitt is of course over on the other side of the state in more of an urban setting.

So far these are the only two colleges he has applied to, and he says he’s done. We had hoped that he’d apply to my husband’s alma mater, Grove City College out in western PA, about 45 miles north of Pittsburgh, but he doesn’t seem interested at this time. At one point, Pitt was his first choice, but now he’s waffling. He has friends at WCU, and he recently saw the marching band perform and was impressed. (He’s a drummer, and marching band and indoor drumline have been a huge part of his life all through high school, so he’s hoping to continue that in college.) Of course cost is also a consideration. All that to say, he hasn’t made a decision yet. We’re pretty adamant that he visits both schools again — and maybe even Grove City again (he visited all 3 last spring) before he makes up his mind.

If you’ve been through this before and have any advice for us as far as what to do on a second visit, I’d love to hear from you. We’re not sure what to do when we visit since we’ve already done the tours at each, but we don’t want to just walk around. We’d like to have a plan and a purpose to make sure we’re really getting the most out of the second visit.

It’s crazy because college is such a big decision and will have a huge impact on the rest of his life, but we really have no idea how; I guess we just have to make the best decision we can and trust the Lord to direct his path and wait to see where it all leads!

That’s by far the biggest news around here this week, but we’ve also been trying to figure out a few other situations so it’s been kind of hectic. My mind is tired. LOL!

I mentioned a few days ago in my daily email that I’ll be getting my last two wisdom teeth out on Tuesday. To say I’m dreading it is a huge understatement. I’ve been putting this off for over a year. No exaggeration — maybe two. They aren’t causing me any pain, but they’re basically falling apart, and they need to come out before I do have a problem. I think the dreading of it is the worst part. At this point, I just want it over with.

There’s not much else to share, I guess. Yesterday was pretty quiet around here, with a shopping excursion to Target and Famous Footwear being the highlight of our day… such a glamorous life I lead. Ha! But really, I did have a good time with my two daughters.

I need to get myself out the door to church here in a few minutes, so that’s it for me. I hope you all have a lovely, restful Sunday!

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108 Responses

  1. That is awesome news about your son. You must be so proud of him. Maybe he could spend the weekend with the marching band and attend a class or two. If marching band is his love, he will probably love the experience. After all, an economics class is an economics class. Just my opinion, but the social life in college is important too. Goo luck to him. 

  2. Congrats to your son!  Our son is a sophomore, so we haven’t started this process yet but have been paying very close attention to our friends with juniors and seniors.  Did he meet with the departments for his intended/possible major (or majors)?  Our friends have said that this was the “decision maker” for them, and some did this a second time.  Good luck to al of you in the decision process!

    1. He actually was able to talk to people in the poli dept at Grove City but he only got generic tours at the two schools he’s been accepted to. He really isn’t sure about his major, but it might be good for him to talk to the band director.

  3. I think Nancy’s suggestion to spend time with the marching band is a good one! He will get a sense of whether or not he belongs with that group. Also, although I hate to say it, it’s not unusual for kids to transfer after choosing a college. It’s tough to know where one is comfortable until one actually spends time there. It’s also not unusual for students to change majors once they actually start taking classes and find their passions. Both of our sons transferred and changed majors, and both got good jobs upon graduation and are doing very well. Yes, it was more expensive for us, but in the end, worth it!

  4. Congratulations, that is wonderful news! I agree a second visit is important. You’ll see things you didn’t notice the first time. Start working on a list of questions to bring with you.
    My daughter wanted to continue to participate on the cross country team in college, so as part of our visits we scheduled time to meet the coach and tour the athletic facilities. She also talked to some of the team members. She ruled out a few colleges as a result. Perhaps your son could meet the band director? 
    We also had lunch in the dining halls to see how the food was…that was important to her! LOL!

    1. Yes, we’ve discussed meeting the band directors. Also we did have lunch at Grove City, but not the other two. Again, so weird that we saw and did so much more there and he didn’t end up applying. LOL!

  5. Congratulations to your son!  What exciting news!  I think spending time with the marching band is a marvelous idea.  Perhaps consider contacting the college or department of his preferred major prior to your visit.  I would think someone would take the time to meet with you and give more specifics than you would get in a general campus tour.  

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery for you this week!

  6. Congratulations to him and you.  It’s an exciting time.  Try to make an Accepted Student visit at each school.  They’ll go over more of the details of actually attending the school as opposed to applying to the school.  And ask a lot of questions about academics and student life…..housing options, meal plans, whether the school assigns him an advisor, career planning services, student success services (aka tutoring).  Then you can really compare the schools.  Though it could come down to his intuition on which school he feels comfortable at.

    My oldest went through this last year.  It’s a huge decision and a major transition for the entire family.  

  7. How exciting for your family! Praying for guidance and wisdom! Also praying your surgery goes well and you have a good recovery <3. Hugs!

  8. I feel almost like I live next door to you (even though I’m currently living in CA : ) My in-laws live in Landenberg (close by you right?); my husband graduated from Unionville High; both of my nieces currently attend Grove City. I’ve been to West Chester many times since my in-laws live nearby. I have a son who is a junior in high school this year and is interested in PSU (my husband’s alma mater) — he loves all things PA, as do my nieces. One of my nieces is on the dance team at Grove City and loves it. Congratulations to your son and your family! I’m sure the path to the right choice is just on the horizon!

  9. Congratulations to your son!  The other ladies have given you great advice.  I know that the college that was at the top of the list for our granddaughter, invited her to attend some classes on a day she was off in high school, so that she could get a better flavor of the environment.  And her parents got to attend a Saturday at the school where current students answered their questions, told them about the school, etc.  Carley knew after the first visit that this college was perfect for her, and she’s right!  We all see her staying there for all 4 years.  I’m glad you got to spend some time with your daughters!  I loved the pics on Instagram.  Focus on the ‘happy’ drugs you will get on Tuesday and all of the TLC your family will give you. Be blessed!

  10. Congratulations to your son! What an exciting time. I’m sure he will find his way and make the right decision with your loving guidance. 

  11. How exciting for your son! I’ve been a reader since 2009 and it’s been so great watching your kids grow up. My kids are now 8 and 5, and I always enjoyed how your kids give me a taste of what’s to come. For college, can he stay on campus on a weeknight and a weekend? It would give him a taste of how the campus operates, whether it clears out on the weekends, etc. Attending a class and band practice would help too.

    Good luck with the wisdom teeth.

    1. Sarah, that is crazy that you’ve read for so long! Thanks for sticking around for all of my evolutions. 🙂 I’ve mentioned to my husband that he should do a campus overnight thing, and Paul had an awful experience when he did that and isn’t encouraging it. For me, it is the thing that sealed the deal. 🙂 So we shall see.

  12. Congrats to your son, that’s so exciting…I’m sure either will be great schools for him…I feel your pain on the dental front; I have horrible dental anxiety and finally last feb I decided to get the work done I needed; i went under anesthesia and got it all done, so I thought, anyway it’s on going for me after all these months and seeing a new dentist…however, I did get my wisdom teeth out years ago, and it’s really not that bad, like so many things in life it’s the process of thinking of it beforehand that’s worse than the actual event???? good luck to you in Tuesday it’ll be fine!!

  13. He could call the undergraduate program director in the major he is interested in to see about a short meeting about the program and/or to sit in on a class. He could meet with current students, and eat in the cafeteria. If they have an admitted students day he should certifiably attend. 

  14. Congratulations to you! Having been through this twice, let him make the decision. I agree with each of the other replies. We steered my daughter to a school that we thought was the best choice and she ended up hating it, changed schools midway through freshman year, and is now doing very well at a school nearby that she chose. Nancy’s suggestion of spending a weekend at the school is a great suggestion, too. It will give he a better idea of the lifestyle on each campus, and without Mom and Dad! The first child seems so overwhelming but it all works out!

    1. Thanks, Laura. I agree, we very much want this to be his decision. He has good friends at WCU and can easily spend time in the dorms and cafeteria. It will be harder to get him out to Pitt for that, but we’ll try. I guess if he really doesn’t care, then that should be our answer, right? 🙂

  15. What exciting times for your son and family! My kids are still too young for me to think about colleges…and I’ve been out of school so long! Maybe I’m in the minority, but I don’t think it really matters where you go to school as long as you get a good (i.e., useful) degree and study hard. Wishing you a successful surgery as well!

    Design by Sydnee | A Lifestyle Blog

    1. I hear ya, Syndnee. I do agree in theory that it doesn’t really matter where he goes, as far as getting a degree is concerned. But I can’t help but think that where he ends up will likely dictate who his life-long friends are, who he marries, maybe even what direction he goes in his career and where he ends up living as an adult. No matter what those end up to be, it will be all good and right for him at the time, it’s just weird to think how much of his life could depend on where he goes. But I know, I tend to get overly caught up in the what-ifs and what could have beens. It’s just interesting to contemplate. 🙂

  16. Picking a college is not easy. We also hoped, wondered if our daughter would pick her Dad’s large university. NO! lol We prayed…can’t say enough about letting God make the decision. We NEVER pushed our daughter as we did not want to responsible for a bad decision. Also, we believed God knew best, we did not. We had three options  and we visited all three. I had my hopes on one in particular. Before we visited that day, I ask God to give all three of us, but especially our daughter, a feeling of peace when we arrived on campus…if that was His will. Well! As soon as we got there, all of were obviously feeling at home. When we were leaving, our daughter said how comfortable she felt there the entire time. She loved it! And, it did not hurt a close friend also made the decision to go there. Even though it was only 30 minutes away, she lived on campus as we believed she needed the independence. Thankfully, with a big scholarship we could afford it. It was the best decision. She has graduated, is now living back home attending Physician Assistant school close by. PTL

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Fonda. I do think this decision will come down to a gut-instinct in the end and where he feels most comfortable – definitely something to pray about.

  17. Congrats to your son!  I agree with the above advice but also if he knows someone and can spend the night with them (while you go have dinner or something!)  he will get a real feel for the atmosphere on campus.  It’s hard for them to picture themselves somewhere if mom and dad are there but hanging out with actual students gives them a much better perspective.  I also believe kids can be happy multiple places so trusting the process is key.   Good luck!

    1. I totally agree – he will likely be happy either way he goes. He’s just that kind of kid. That’s why he stopped looking at schools after three. He liked them all, LOL! I think he can truly see himself at any of them, and that’s in part what makes this decision tough. It’s good to have choices, but in this case, it might have been easier if he only had one acceptance. Ha! (Kidding, I’m proud of him and glad he has choices.)

  18. Congrats to your son! Did he apply for early decision? My daughter is a senior this year. Back at school full time after taking virtual glasses junior year. Its like we are playing catch up. College visits, SATS, fafsa, etc. ????

  19. Congratulations on the acceptances! I went through this last year with my now college freshman and we are starting again with my HS junior. It can be overwhelming. My suggestions would be to have him go on an overnight visit. This can usually be arranged through admissions, maybe through the band or a friend that he knows there may be willing to host but may need to get permission from housing. One thing we did is to have him imagine himself living and attending if he decides he doesn’t want to be in the band any longer. My son plays baseball and we didn’t want to base the decision solely on baseball. When he said he thought he would love it with or without being on the team he knew his decision was made. He should also consider class size and teacher to student ratio. Does he want to be in lecture halls with 200+ students or be in smaller more intimate classes? Other things to consider is rural vs. urban, do students stay around on weekends, other clubs, housing options and living arrangements and so much more. Sorry this is so long but I am living it now too! And finally please remember that there may be more than one right decision. Don’t think of it as a right and wrong choice; just different options. Good luck!! 

  20. When my son had two choices for college and couldn’t make up his mind, he looked at what actual classes he would be taking at each school, and what there was to choose from in his major. Once he did that, the choice was clear. So far away from home, but even that was a big part of his education if you know what I mean.

  21. Good advice on college from everyone!  My son is in his third year. I would definitely check out the dorms closely. Also, I agree about looking at what the major offerings are since it is hard to decide what you want to do the rest of your life at 18.  Make sure they have other majors he would be interested in if he could not do his first choice. Also, we went with a cheaper tuition but found a lot of hidden costs we did not know about up front. Check out the meal plans carefully. We over paid for one he could not use up and waisted money.  Look at the cost of living in the town too like apartment rent etc.  Most will not live in the dorms forever.  Praying your surgery goes well!

  22. Congratulations to your son! Ours is a college sophomore, so I do remember this time. He may want to check with both universities… some have “accepted student days” in the spring, complete with an opportunity to stay overnight in the dorm. This can be a helpful immersion into the campus culture. Then he can see which place he “feels” most comfortable with — in the end, if all else is equal, it comes down to “feel.” Also agree about requesting a classroom visit.

  23. Everything has been said as far as advice. My son said he prayed about it and the choice between two schools was made clear to him. Maybe he’d be open to that? Also as a side note, my son performed w DCI (Drum Corp Int). It is a summer music program. He loved it and learned so much. Just thought I’d throw in something else for you to think about. Lol. Take care!

  24. Love these “coffee talks”!
    I don’t know that I have any great advice, but I have watched my three older kids navigate this post secondary/leaving home process and observed that their need to feel a connection to some social aspect of their university made a huge difference in their success. My oldest son choose a prestigious school but felt so isolated and lost that he ended up transferring the following year and became more confident and motivated to take on adulthood because he had friends and felt like he was establishing a life for himself. He’s now married and teaching in South Korea to save money for med school in Prague…. My second child, a daughter chose a smaller university closer to home where she was very connected to other Christians and has achieved great success academically partly because of her great, positive experience socially. My third daughter, who has often struggled with confidence in her ability to learn recently decided to pursue her dream of being a nurse, due in part to connecting with others who had a similar plan. They encourage and support one another and that makes a huge difference in her ability to persevere in the challenging course load she’s taken on.
    A social life isn’t everything, of course, but I noticed it has had a huge positive impact on their learning and over all confidence as young adults.

    1. Yep, I think you’re right, the social aspect shouldn’t be overlooked, and I think that’s definitely playing into his decision. He has friends at WCU and one in the band, so that would be nice for him if he does end up going that route.

  25. Congratulations to your son! My youngest was also a snare drummer in High School, as well as through all four years of college at SDSU. Isn’t Winter Drumline the craziest thing? It’s amazing what those kids can do while playing a drum. I love Band Kids! Their work ethic and priorities are impressive. 

  26. Congratulations to your son. For the second visit, I would say to try to get matched up with a student ambassador one-on-one; some schools do this and the kids go to lunch and can ask questions. Even better is to stay overnight and then he can really see the dorm life close up. On our visits, we rarely got to see the dorms, and if we did, it was a “model” and not a real dorm. All the suggestions about spending time with the band are great ones! Any time he can spend with the kids doing real activities will give him a sense of which atmosphere is a better fit. I’m also a huge fan of “pro and con” lists- lots of time when you are forced to write down your thoughts, the decision becomes very apparent. Good luck! How lucky he is to have a choice!

    1. Thanks, Laurie. We’ll look into that. I think he’ll end up staying over with his friend at some point, so he’ll get a taste of campus life at the the one school, but I need to really encourage him to do that at the other school as well.

  27. Congrats! That is the best kind of mail! My oldest is a college junior and we are currently going through this same decision with my second who is a high school senior this year. One thing I would suggest is to visit on a weekday if you were previously there on a weekend (or vice versa). IMO you really can’t get the feel for what a school is really like if you visit on a weekend. My experience has been that some universities even have a very different feel depending on whether you visit in the morning or the afternoon. We look for students who seem friendly and happy and for students doing the same activities that my son enjoys. Things to consider: are the clubs and other activities out “recruiting” for new students? are the students hanging around in different gathering areas to goof off and study together? does the campus seem dead at an odd time of day?

    I’d also suggest trying to meet with a professor or upperclassman in the major he is considering. Have them show you the classrooms, labs, etc, and get a feel for the building where he’ll spend a lot of time. And if he doesn’t have any ideas about a major, make sure there are several options that he thinks sound appealing so he has choices going forward.

    Questions to ask that helped us make this decision the first time around: Do most students take morning or afternoon classes? How many non-freshmen live on campus? How much of the student body is Greek? What is the largest class size (helpful since they mostly just give you average class sizes)? What do students do on the weekends (mostly go home? stick around campus? study? sports? etc)? Can they have a car on campus? If not, what sort of transportation is provided for students?

    Good luck! It’s a big decision. In the end, for us, a lot of it came down to the school that just “felt right”. 🙂

  28. Congratulations to your son. We put 5 kids through college my husbands dream was they could all go to the same university we could buy a small house they could all have lived in at one point. Well that didn’t pan out… they all wanted their own experience from DePaul downtown Chicago to The University of Kentucky. As many say “they will find their way” he will make the right decision. I’ve been a follower for years you guys a great parents your sending him with a good foundation. Good luck with your wisdom teeth ????????????????

  29. Congrats to your son! Now he can enjoy all the fun of senior year without worrying over college acceptances.
    I don’t have any advice as far as college visits. My triplet boys are juniors so I hope I can learn a few things from you.

  30. Hi. This is my first post though I have been a long time reader. I agree with the above advice. I have been through this 3 times in the last six years. I just dropped my baby off at the University of Colorado Boulder last month????
    I would like to add one thing. Make sure your son really knows the criteria important to him. I had long conversations with all 3 kids about that understanding no place is perfect and they all have pros and cons. Lastly dont drive yourself crazy overthinking it. Every child has their own path to follow in life and they are not all exactly how the parents may envision it. Congratulations. Very exciting and emotional time. 

  31. I will reiterate what others have said.  I have 2 in college, and following a student for a day was a big help for them.  For my oldest, it made her rule out a choice that had previously been one of her big contenders.  Now my youngest is a freshman, and she’s already had 3 students follow her as Eagle for a day ( They both attend Boston College).  Most schools they were accepted at had a similar program.

  32. Just wanted to chime in and share that we are in the same boat. My oldest son is also a senior and like your son ONLY applied to two colleges. They are both very different schools – and he likes them both for different reasons. He has applied early action for both schools. However we still have a bit of time to wait for an admission decision. He will hear from one school in mid November – early December and the other late December – early January.

    We visited several schools and took the guided tour through the admissions department. Then many months later we visited his top two schools on our own. We did not do anything official through the university – but toured each schools student rec center (a very important feature for my son) and then spent time wandering around on our own to get a better feel of campus. One of the schools he has a good friend who is a sophomore there and we allowed him to spend a considerable amount of time with him to allow him to get a more “authentic” feel of the environment.

    He is soooo torn about his choice (as am I). We will definitely attend accepted student day at each school (providing they each accept him) and I hope that will give him some clarity. And of course I am praying that God will guide his decision and provide clarity and peace to all. Like others stated – I truly want this to be HIS decision and not to be duly influenced by parents or friends.

    1. Wow, Haley, sounds like we’re definitely in the same boat! I like the idea of visiting on our own. We can definitely do that with the one that is close by. Since it is close, we have a lot of connections. Pitt seems a little more distant to us, but I think it will be good to visit again.

  33. Congratulations to your son and to you and your husband as his parents who ihave aided him
    tremendously during this process!

    You’ve received many good suggestions from others here—-connecting with students/staff in the band program, staying overnight, sitting in on 2-3 classes, meeting with a faculty adviser in his primary area(s) of interest, checking out special programs of interest such as honors, study abroad, internships or other areas in which he might be interested.  As parents, while your son is busy doing his own research, it’ can be helpful to gather some additional facts such as asking about the freshman retention rate; what percentage of course requests freshmen typically receive; what percentage of students graduate in four years; if your son in considering grad school, what percentage of applicants are admitted during their first attempt; the strength of the alumni network; what sets each school apart from all the others from the thoughts of multiple staff members; and maybe campus safety stats.  

    If you find you have free time on your hands while your son is busy doing other things, it is  also sometimes helpful to go to a place on campus where students gather such as a coffee shop and ask random students what they like best about their school.  If they seem genuinely interested in helping, ask if there’s anything else prospective students should know.  

    Best wishes on this educational journey and for your upcoming surgery.  

  34. Congratulations to your son! Such an exciting time! My oldest is a junior, so I will read some of this advice myself! That oldest son had his wisdom teeth out this summer, all 4, and it was really easy on him. I think oral surgery has come a long way since I had my wisdom teeth out. The place we went even sent us home w Ben & Jerry’s! Good luck to you!

  35. Wow!  Wish we had had all this great advise before our kids went to school!  They both had wonderful experiences, but there is a wealth of knowledge being shared here! Best wishes for Tuesday. we will be praying for you and your medical team. 

  36. Okay…take a deep breath AND RELAX! Yes, college will impact his life but life will go one no matter what choice HE makes. While your input and guidance is important, this really is about him. I currently have one graduate from Univ of So Carolina, one at Alabama (Roll Tide), one at SCAD in Savannah and my youngest, a senior, just chose Old Miss! All chose out of state schools and my husband will never retire!
    All four of them said they just knew when they stepped on the campus of their eventual choice that it was where they were meant to be. 
    So calm down and enjoy the process. He’s got this!

  37. Congratulations! My husband and I both worked at PITT in the athletic department from 2009-2016. Our two oldest daughters have graduated form PITT and landed amazing jobs. Our 2nd oldest is actually back at PITT for a 2nd degree in the PITT Nursing accelerated program. Our oldest was part of PITT marching band all four years of school. She LOVED IT!! The traveling with football and basketball as well as other band functions throughout the year she enjoyed immensely. Both girls were at the PITT home football game yesterday. I can’t say enough about the endless resources and support that PITT has to offer it’s students being a city campus. Everything is at the students finger tips. The study abroad programs are outstanding as well. Both girls studied abroad one in France and one in Ecuador. If you need more information about PITT, academics and the band program from a parent and staff perspective please feel free to reach out.
    Our family had previously been living in Kalamazoo Michigan working in the athletic department at WMU from 1998-2009 before we made the move to Pittsburgh. We love it here and are amazed every day at the strong sense of community and support.

    Best of luck to your son!
    Hail to Pitt!

    1. Hey Terry, that is all so great to hear! Thanks so much for chiming in. I may be reaching out to you! We were looking at the band schedule today, and we have a major conflict with every home game they have left in the season. I’m so bummed b/c we’d really love to get over there and see them play. David really seemed interested too. I’m going to see about emailing the band director and asking if there are any other performances (non ball game related) that we could get to. Do you have any idea? What else do they do? We’d love to see them before he makes his final decision.

      1. Hi, I reached out to my daughter for a personal contact on the current drumline. Once I hear from her I will post that for you. In the mean time here is the best info for PITT Band and drumline info and tryouts from last year. I am assuming tryouts would be similar dates in 2018. Here are the links.
        Pittsburgh Bands
        P.O. Box 7436
        Pittsburgh, PA 15213
        Phone (412)-648-8250
        Fax: (412)-648-3111
        E-Mail: [email protected]

  38. Big Congrats to your son! What an exciting (and overwhelming) time. I commented on Instagram when you were visiting Pitt..so I’ll admit I’m super excited that he was accepted there. 🙂 But, those are all great schools. My son is a sophomore at Pitt, and we have friends (also, sophomores) at both WCU and Grove City. Also, my husband went to WCU in the 80’s.
    I would definitely try to do the ‘accepted students’ day when they are available, we learned so much more on those days! I love the idea of contacting and spending time with the marching bands if possible. Pitt has a great marching band as well, one of my son’s roommates is in the Marching Band at Pitt and another good friend from HS…I can pass on any questions to him if you have any, about the school or the band! Enjoy this time…it goes really fast!

    1. Thanks, Cassie! So many connections, that is funny. I would love to know if the PITT band plays anywhere other than the football games b/c we’d love to see them play, and we can’t make any of the remaining games. We’ll definitely try to visit for one of the accepted student days, but he’d particularly like to see the band play.

      1. Just texted my son and a friend whose son is in marching band. It doesn’t seem like there are any other remaining performances other than the games but you can watch a bunch of performances on youtube. PittBandVideo. Hope that helps some!! I know at the accepted students day, there were band members available to talk and ask questions.

  39. Wonderful news about your son and college. I’m sure it will all work out. Usually does. I just sent my second grandchild off to college in August. He is at GA Tech and my granddaughter is at UGA. Ha. Rival siblings. But its about the education not football. They are both very happy and didn’t do alot of legwork before going. Sometimes you can do too much. My opinion. Hope all goes well with your wisdom teeth. If no pain now you should be fine.

    1. I think you’re right that you can do too much, and I really think he will be happy with either choice so it’s not like we’re stressed out or anything, but it’s exciting, and I can’t wait to see what he decides.

      (Sorry about the double emails. I meant to send the last comment to Cassie. 🙂 )

  40. My daughter actually went to West Chester University (we live out of state) and she loved it. Great school and even a better cost savings if you live in state. She loved the downtown area. So much fun. And their marching band is awesome. They really put on a great halftime show at the football games. Go to the accepted students day for both and let him really get a feel for each
    and then decide which school feels right for him. Glad he has options. Good luck!  Exciting times in his life. 

  41. Jolynne it is not so bad i had my last wisdom tooth take. Out last October it was quick and painless took advil before my ride came and got me and then took every 4-6 hrs after. Except for a fat lip it was easy. Plus after you can go for ice cream or froyo.  I hope that your hubby is driving. I had novacane but still felt a little loopy and i came home and crash in my bed . Lucky my daughter is a teenage and her grandfather takes care of her after school so i cud rest .  Hope it goes well 

  42. My daughter is a senior and on our second visits to her top two colleges we did a vol preview day at UT and tried to do an engineering tour at Auburn. It was on Auburn’s first day of classes so they didn’t have tours but scheduled her to meet and talk to the head of the chemical engineering department. It was a great visit and my shy daughter really learned a lot. I would suggest meeting with the band and seeing if they have any preview or one on one programs. UT also had a Shadow day for engineering students that sounds like a great opportunity. We emailed admission counselors that gave us their card at end general tour. I think it really helps them choose and it is  see more of the environment since one is more of a college town and one is more urban. Good luck! Exciting times!

  43. My son (who is a soccer player) got the best advice about choosing a school from his coach. “Don’t pick the school with the nicest fields or the best soccer team, really look to see that the school has the best program for what you are interested in doing. Remember you are a STUDENT Athlete, STUDENT being the first word”. Not sure if you can apply that to the band, but those are my (borrowed) two cents! The added thought process in Canada, is do you want to go to a school here or in the USA. Most important thing to consider is will your program allow you to work in both countries. Lots to think about. Congrats to your son, this is a very exciting (but I am sure stressful) time for him! All that being said I agree with everyone above in that he will make the right decision in his own time. 🙂

    1. I agree – that makes sense long term. I think it’s hard for kids to think that way tho. And the other issue we have is, he has no idea what he wants to do for a major, LOL. He was originally thinking poli sci but he has no career plans for that so now he’s undecided.

  44. Hi Jo-Lynne, I didn’t have time to read all of the other suggestions above but I have my son home from college who happens to work in the admissions office at his school and asked what he’d suggest. (Sorry if they repeat from above.) Schedule an overnight visit if the schools allow that, sit in on a class or two in an expected major or a general credit class, meet with the leaders of the organizations you are interested in (band) or shadow a student that may have similar interests as his for a day, meet with faculty in your area, and if you had a group tour, schedule a one-on-one tour (making sure that you can have access to dorm rooms, library, etc.) Also, if you can, try to have him eat lunch/dinner in the main dining area. That often has a good feel for the general vibe of the college! Good luck to you all! It isn’t easy but it is so amazing to see them go into the world! I always say it’s like cultivating a garden and then actually seeing the results at harvest time! 🙂

  45. My oldest daughter is a freshman in college this year, so we were in your shoes a year ago. So bittersweet!!!! On second visits try to set appointments with faculty from the department that is most important to your son at this time. If music is his passion, come up with a short list of questions then sit and talk with faculty from the music department. Eat a meal or two in the dining hall when it is packed with students. It is amazing how you can get a feel for a place by just being there! If Grove City is still on your list, definitely go there, meet faculty and be around the students before your son crosses it off his list. Three schools is plenty to choose from!!!! Enjoy this time!

  46. I, too, am a Band Mom (bari sax and trumpet kids), and I can’t tell you how happy my freshman daughter is in the University’s pep band (huge basketball school).  The first 3 weeks of school were scary as she couldn’t understand the heavy drinking all around her, but once pep band started during week 4, it was her “aha” moment–she finally found her peeps, she’s involved in all the fun, and she in now so happy at school.  She was so close to choosing a different college with no pep band, so I’m thanking God that she changed her mind.  Band kids are the BEST!  Pick a good band program!!!

  47. You have received some great advice. We have sent four to college and two of them also did advanced degrees on different campuses than their undergrad experience. Here are a few thoughts I’d add:

    Have your son, ideally when the parents aren’t around, ask questions of just typical current students. In other words, not the paid tour guides or ” student ambassadors”.  Questions such as “what’s the drinking/ party culture like”, “how hard is it to schedule classes you need to graduate on time”, “what’s Greek life like and how critical is it to social life on campus”, “what do students do on weekends”.  Anything that you or your son really wants an honest/transparent answer on vs the university approved answer????

    If your son has a fairly solid idea of where he wants to be in four years, is that the typical outcome for students majoring in his area of study at this college? For example, our son was fairly certain, even as a high school senior, that he wanted law school to at least be a realistic option at the end of his undergraduate program.  So a strong law school acceptance rate was something he looked for in an undergrad program. Look at which companies recruit on campus…that’s a good indication of a respected program of study in a particular field. 

    Make sure your son really thinks about what it will mean to his college experience if he goes to a school close to home which is attended by many kids from his high school. This isn’t necessarily a good or a bad thing….but it is A Thing. Will having a couple buildt in friends make his college transition easier? Will having high school friends around make him less likely to step out of his comfort zone and meet new people and have new experiences. Will he be glad he can easily come home for dinner on a sister’s birthday or will he be tempted to come home too quickly when things are challenging? Again, there isn’t a right or wrong answer. However, two of our kids attended college out of state and two of them attended 40 minutes from home and there are very different realities.

  48. Congratulations to your son on his college acceptances! Not that marching band is a top consideration, but the Pitt drumline is pretty awesome.

  49. Congratulation! You are one step closer to college life. My daughter is a sophomore in college, so I remember trying to figure this all out all too well. We did the generic tour offered by the two colleges she was interested in. Once she was accepted both colleges had another tour day for accepted students. This allowed us to see the college again, meet faculty, students, see dorm rooms and have lunch in the cafeteria. If either of his choices offer an accepted students day you MUST do it. Also be sure to ask him after each visit – Can you see yourself here?

  50. He needs to schedule time to talk with the department in his major of choice at both schools he is considering. He should also schedule a time to talk with the marching band directors at the schools. We just completed the college search this past year (my son is now a Freshman!)- he is also in marching band and that was a huge consideration for him. We met with the department of his first and second choice colleges and they were able to talk about how they could work with him, opportunities. He also talked with the marching band. He ultimately choose, Shippensburg University- another PASSHE school in central PA and loves it and the marching band! It has a wonderful political science department with alumni that work in DC, Harrisburg- all over and the alums offer excellent shadowing opportunities for students also through the career center. great university!

  51. I’m from your general area in Bucks County and both my sons did marching band while majoring in engineering. One went closer to home to the University of Delaware. A great school, close by and a fabulous band and director. Apply soon if interested! My nephew goes to Pitt and loves it, too. 

  52. I know I’m posting this late– I’m out of the country! I just wanted to say that after sending 4 children off to college, my experience has been that your son’s decision isn’t as monumental as it seems. He can always transfer if he decides his choice wasn’t the best– and that can be for a variety of reasons– he could change his mind about what he wants, the school could not be what it seemed . . . and the list goes on. My 4th, the most independent and decisive of my darlings, was absolutely positive of her choice and after a year she was miserable. And she transferred, graduated on time, and is convinced that her journey, even with the transfer, was the path meant for her. Hugs for you, Jo-Lynne. I think it’s more difficult to be the parent of a young adult than a child. In the end, you should be confident you raised your son well, he’s an amazing human being, and all will be well at the end of the day.

  53. You might not see this since it is a couple of months after you posted-and not sure if others recommended this-but I would highly recommend an overnight visit to help your son decide. I know that Pitt does this for accepted students. My son was accepted there and really enjoyed the overnight visit. Although he ended up attending (and graduating from) Dickinson College in Carlisle, he always thought that Pitt would have been a great alternative based on the overnight stay. Not sure if the other 2 schools offer this-but it is worth checking out.

    1. Hey Beth, I see all my comments so always feel free to comment on an older post. 🙂 Thanks for the input. I have tried to convince him to do an overnight but he’s not interested. He doesn’t even want to visit again. I think he will probably end up at WCU – it’s just easier (and cheaper, although I don’t want that to be a factor.) I’d like to see him spread his wings, but he’s not one to take the harder road, and with friends at WCU, and the close proximity, I have a feeling he will end up there. He also was extremely impressed with the marching band (he saw them perform and has good friends in it) and since he doesn’t know what he wants to major in, the band is one of the biggest factors in his decision. I keep saying that playing in the PITT band would have to be an amazing experience, but for some reason he thinks WCU’s is better???? Sigh… whatever. He will do fine at either place, I’m sure.

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