Doc Seidman Says….
…..As the director of the college resource website, Affordable College Prep, I get to go on many college campus tours. Visiting different campuses enables me to remain informed on college trends to better educate our advisees and students. Besides the speed walking requirement most tours mandate (A Visit to the College Why), touring a college campus is quite informative. One thing I have noticed, however, is that the college is going to send you to places they want you to see. That makes a lot of sense since the tour is a great opportunity to market, or create value for their campus. As such, you don’t get to see the worst public bathrooms or the long lines in front of the financial services office. You pretty much stick to designated campus highlights such as the glistening new students center, a sample freshmen dorm, the main library, the dining hall, and a typical college classroom.
There are other sites that I feel are worth seeing, but sadly, we never do. And no, I’m not talking about the dirty bathrooms or the long financial services line. I’m talking about other important places that the curiously savvy students and their parents should know.
Here is my list:
- The broken vending machine:
We all know it is around somewhere. This is the vending machine that, due to whatever flaw, doesn’t charge full price for certain items. Those in the know can get that $2.00 bottle of Powerade for $1. That small bag of BBQ Fritos that lists for $1.25 is your for 50ȼ. This machine is there somewhere. Perhaps it’s tucked away in the basement of the Chemical Engineering building? Wherever it is, I think it would be great to know. After all, a bargain is a bargain.
- The dumpster behind the dining hall:
Parents pay a lot of money toward their child’s campus dining options. Many schools require the purchase of a food plan to accompany living in a dormitory. This can cost over $5,000 per student over a typical school year. Despite the cost, most parents are happy to pay for this dining option. It is important to know that their son or daughter has ready access to nutritious dining. However, almost every restaurant and/or food service facility is notorious for being wasteful. Tons of non-eaten food gets thrown out every year in this country. How much is getting wasted at your local campus dining hall will shock you. It’s a lot. Whereas not a very sexy site, the dumpster behind the dining hall would give us a peek into this wastefulness. This may make the dining halls more cautious about the food they are preparing and wasting. After all, wasted food is wasted money. Most families try and save money any way they can throughout the college journey. It shouldn’t be wasted on food.
- Where’s the pizza?
Since we are discussing food, the college tour should point out the place on or around campus that has the best pizza. In poll after poll, pizza continues to be identified that the most preferred food among college students. The library, freshman dorm, and classroom buildings are all important, but let’s give the future students and their families something they can really use. Show us where the best pizza is. A free sample would be nice too. We promise we won’t throw it out. Nobody wastes good pizza; especially in college.
- Best place for a first date:
Dating and romance are important components of the college experience. It would be nice if the tour could point a spot that “gets party started,” so to speak. And no, I’m not talking about “The Point” or “The Field” or that special place guys like to bring their dates for special get-to-know -you banter (wink, wink). I’m talking about the place you can go to have a good time and some nice conversation. A place that is fun and somewhat lively. More important, it should not be populated by your “buddies” or “gal pals.” Leave them out of this. It should be slightly off the beaten track but close enough to the campus to feel comfortable. I think future students- and their parents- would like to know, and should know, that spot. For more about sex and romance in college, read Sex and College.
- The faculty offices:
A typical college classroom is usually a designated stop on the campus tour. Whereas it is an important stop, it really does not tell us much about the faculty. Since college faculty will be deciding the fate and future of their students: our sons, daughters, and advisees, we should learn more about them. Granted, we can all read about their achievements on their online bios, but that still doesn’t give us the whole picture. Have the tour visit some of the faculty offices. I always like to see what is on their bookshelf. Do they have the last three volumes of Multivariate Data Analysis, the most recent edition of Physics: A Textbook for Advanced Level Students, or are they proudly displaying, The Best Joke Book Ever and Hilarious One Liners? Personally, that would be the professor I would want to teach my son, daughter, or advisee. Nothing against the Multi Variate Data Analysis and Advanced Physics folks, I’m sure they are nice people, but give me the professor with jokes. Humor and learning go together like……. college and pizza!
- The best bathroom
Nobody wants to see the worst bathroom, but it would sure be nice to see the best bathroom. Like the broken vending machine, we know it is around somewhere. We shouldn’t have to go to Reddit or the online discussion board to know where it is. It should be pointed out to us during the campus tour. Besides, if we are consuming bran muffins and guzzling a lot of coffee for breakfast, and shortly thereafter walking around the campus at a breakneck speed, not only would it be good to know where that bathroom is, it will also be needed.