What exactly is the “college experience?”

What does the college experience mean to you?

I’ve gotten many different answers when I ask this question – sometimes, the person who is going off to college (usually the child) has a completely different definition from the parent.

The parent may be envisioning increased personal development and responsibility, the ability to handle pressure and stress and the opportunity to do his or her own laundry. All good things that blossoming adults need to know, for sure.

The prospective student may be envisioning increased opportunity to meet new people (freedom) , live away from home for the first time (freedom) and (eventually) get a well-paying job (freedom AND money). Again, all good things…

What I have learned is that the college experience has become a term that encompasses a life that doesn’t fit everyone. Some students thrive in an on campus environment; some do not. Many prospective students get caught up in the stream of “what everyone else is doing”, and they think they’re going to be missing out on something BIG if they don’t experience…whatever it is that everyone else is experiencing.

Have a conversation. Have LOTS of conversations about what it means to live independently and take responsibility for your classes, your grades and your future.

Consider what is best for you and your family and talk about what the college experience really means…you’ll be glad you opened the door to future conversations about experiences and life!