January 1, 2009

The College Search

My daughter, Elsa, is a junior in high school. We decided to begin our college search early because so many of Elsa's weekends are tied up with soccer games.

Our first college visit was to Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. Elsa had attended a summer soccer camp and met members of the soccer team who invited her to see a game and visit the school. Elsa happened not to have a tournament Columbus Day weekend, so we drove upstate and spent the night in a local motel.

Skidmore is beautiful, especially at this time of the year. The town of Saratoga Springs is beyond cute and inviting, and it is evident that the town appreciates the college and its students. Elsa and I had breakfast in an adorable but expensive patisserie in town and then went to a brunch hosted by the women's varsity soccer team in a tiny off campus house in town. We met many players and chatted with parents who were very friendly and offered helpful advice about the college application process for an athlete.

After the brunch, Elsa and I headed to the campus for a tour. We had a lively and friendly guide who is a sophomore. We saw the entire campus, including a few sample dorm rooms. I had been warned that some of the architecture was modern and not so attractive, but I felt that the there was a nice blend of new and old style buildings and that the campus was overall asthetically pleasing. The school felt very small and intimate to me. It seems relaxed and friendly, and I kept thinking that it would be a perfect fit for my son. I was pleased that non music majors can play in bands, for example, and non drama majors can audition for a play. The school felt cozy.

After our tour, Elsa and I had a bite of lunch in a cute local sandwich/salad spot and then headed to the field for the game. Skidmore was playing Hobart and Williams and tied, just unable to penetrate the H&W defense. After the game, we chatted with the players and the coach and complimented the team on their efforts. The coach told Elsa that if she liked the school, that she should-crap-this is important and now I've forgotten what she said-oh, I think she said that Elsa should forward her transcripts and then set up an interview in the spring. I'm not sure of the timeline of how this all works, but I'll keep posting as I learn.