Where Do You Want to Go to College?

These were the two questions that had been pervading my household for two months. It all started on a hot day in August when I finally sat down with my son and asked him “Where do you want to go to college?” and “Where will you get in?”


My son had said he didn’t want big; 5,000 – 10,000 was the perfect size. So we called Janice, founder of Custom College Visits, to get her opinion on which schools he should apply to. She had helped us with our older son, and had him apply to a number of schools that we would have never thought about. Of course, it was one of these schools that he now attends.


Back to my other son. She explained to him that he needed to expand his list and gave us names of other schools she thought he may like, based on criteria that she had discussed with him. Some that were ‘reaches,’ some we hoped would be ‘likelies’ and others that seemed right on target. She even encouraged him to apply to a few big schools, because after talking to him she felt that he could really thrive at one of them.


With a list of about 12 schools, my son began the process. Getting through the applications and writing the essays was just one aspect of this stressful journey. My son knew if he was going to apply early anywhere, he had to go see the schools—besides helping to choose which schools to apply to, this is where Janice and Custom College Visits was invaluable.


Janice helped us set up meetings with professors in his field of interest, find students he could spend time with and possibly go to class with and also organized times for him to speak with various student groups on campus.

After two trips in the fall, he knew to which schools he wanted to apply to, and even thought he knew which one he really wanted to go to. On Janice’s suggestion, he applied to a few others he hadn’t seen. As time passed, all the applications were in and now he had to wait…


Fast forward to the spring and it was now time to make a decision. My son was very lucky; he had been accepted to a number of schools and had a lot of great choices. His heart was set on the school he had seen in the fall, but some of the other acceptances came with scholarship and honors offers.


Feeling that he should give these other schools and chance, some of them bigger than he had originally wanted, we set out again. Janice planned more meetings with professors, overnights with students, and in-depth campus tours. She even organized a time for us to meet with the director of one of the school’s scholar programs and current students that were in the program.


One by one, he was able to narrow down his choices to two. Ironically they couldn’t have been more different. Elon in North Carolina with 5,000 students and Ohio State with about 45,000.


Who would have ever thought that my son would feel at home in such a big school. However, having had the opportunity to visit he knew that the school may be big, but it felt just right.


Finally after mulling it over with us and spending time talking it over with Janice, who asked him some great questions, he came to his decision. Janice and Custom College Visits had done it again. My son has chosen to attend The Ohio State—a big school that he would have never applied to or fallen in love with, had it not been for the amazing professors and students he had the opportunity to meet.


One more son to go! Thankfully I have a few years before we have to go through this again—but I won’t even think about doing it without the help of Custom College Visits.


Diane Bidna
Southern California.