Surviving The College Search: Five Tips For Moms

Hey friends!  Our #3 child will be a high school senior in three days.  Hold me.  She and I are very much alike in many ways, and we love hanging out together.   This is the reason I do not understand why she is the first of our four children to want to leave her mommy and go far away to college.  Humph.   We are knee deep in the college search process, and have visited several schools.  I have learned a few things along the way, and today I’m going to share with you my tips for surviving the college search process.


Surviving the College Search Five Tips for Moms. Parenting teens through the college search is stressful but fun. These tips will save your sanity, and possibly your relationship with your kid. ;)


Surviving The College Search:  Five Tips For Moms

My first tip is to take advantage of all of the free information available.  You can learn SO MUCH about a school on the internet; to think all we had in my day was a few brochures!  Every statistic and ranking is there for the searching, as well as testimonials from current and former students about the things that really matter; the food, the dorms, and the fun.   Your child’s high school counselor is also a great resource.  He or she has most likely visited almost all of the colleges that kids in your area are interested in, and is a great help with prioritizing characteristics and narrowing down lists.

As a parent, you’ll appreciate a “narrowed down” list when you begin planning visits.


surviving the college search five tips for moms


Tip #2 is to visit schools close to home first.  This is especially important if your child is not sure what size of school he or she is interested in.  Visit a large school, a medium sized school, and a small school close to home; whichever size is the best fit will dictate which schools you plan longer trips to see.  Then visit as many as you are comfortable with.  Our summer vacation this year was an epic college search road trip to Boston and Philadelphia.  We visited six schools in two amazing cities, and came home with much more clarity.


Surviving the college search

(these photos are from our Boston College tour–what a GORGEOUS place!)

My last three tips might sound a little silly, but as a mom they just might save your life.  Trust me.

  1.  DO NOT nod your head knowingly while the admissions counselor talks about the college search process, admissions criteria, and stats.  You are to sit completely still and show no emotion.  Just take my word for it, I heard once that a proud mom nodded along as she realized that her child’s test scores were well within the average for last year’s class and she was metaphorically be-headed by her child.  Just sayin’.
  2. DO NOT make friends with the other parents on the tour.  Apparently this makes your child look too eager, or some other crap like that.
  3. Last but not least, DO NOT ask questions on the tour, leave that to your child.  Apparently it is especially bad to ask where the nearest bathroom is cuz you’re 49 and you’ve pushed out four babies and when you have to pee you have to pee.


If you’re wondering, our “short” list now includes Boston College, Villanova, Notre Dame, University of Dayton, and Xavier University.  We shall see!

Anyone else have any college search advice?  Share in the comments!




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6 thoughts on “Surviving The College Search: Five Tips For Moms

  1. As a mother of 2 college graduates!! Do take the time to tour the any other large “purchase” be it a car, a house, or a college education….the student really does need to see if it “feels right” Our kids had a first choice in mind, but after they toured, realized it was not the correct choice for them. Trust their gut!!

    1. I totally agree Laurie! Our girl’s “first choice” initially will not even be a school she applies to. Visiting definitely helps to narrow down the choices and clarify what they want in a school. Thanks for reading!

  2. Great tips, Kimm. I’m about to send “baby” #2 off to college, so I’ve learned a bit along the way. I love your tip about looking at schools closer to home first.

  3. Lol, the last three mom tips are the best Kimm :D. My son’s off to a college in Canada in a few days and we did everything on the internet. So scary. Sending lots of hugs your way.

  4. Those Jesuit schools have beautiful campuses don’t they? Sounds like you’ve done everything that you can do. Although If my daughter told me that I shouldn’t talk to the other parents I would have to remind her that her pride does not determine who I get to talk to! You, of course, are more patient than I. I worked in Student Development for a small Jesuit University for a 3 years and my only real advise is – watch out for the students only group visits (overnight or weekend) to a campus.

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