The #1 Reason To Visit Colleges in Person


From the desk of Celia Tucker, College Guidance Counselor:

“Nothing can take the place of being there…”

This past week I attended a North American Coalition for Christian Admissions Professionals Conference at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana (yes, one should think carefully when scheduling a conference in hot,  hot, hot July and really  think about how cold, cold, cold it might be in Upland, Indiana in December…it was 11…).

Again, putting all icicles aside,  all I can say is , “Nothing can take the place of being there.”

When talking to parents and students about choosing a college we stress how important it is to take the time to make college visits. In this day and age of virtual tours it is possible to almost feel like you are on campus via computer, but having your feet on the ground, eating cafeteria food, mingling with actual college students, and talking in person to college professionals is the absolute best way to get the true feel of the campus.

Take my conference at Taylor University, for example. Before last week I had no idea where Taylor was, what type students really attend, what a “Silent Night” basketball game is, how meaningful it can be to lift a candle with thousands of young people singing “Silent Night” during campus Chapel,  and how the word “intentionality” has become part of my vocabulary. Talking with and learning from 36 other Christian counselors from all over the world is a learning experience in itself, but exploring a college campus and getting to experience its’ personality is pretty much priceless.

Recently the Lord has put me in situations where He seems to be saying, “Don’t just talk about it. Experience what your students experience.” Case in point: “Celia, I want you to go Brook Hill and begin again. Meet new people, make new friends, step out in faith knowing in your heart it is exactly the right thing to do.” What do we ask students to do? Go off to college and begin again. Meet new people, make new friends, step out in faith knowing in their heart it is exactly the right thing to do. Okay, so it is a bit scary…but oh, so rewarding.

Just as boarding the plane headed for the corn fields of Indiana and people I don’t even know took me out of my comfort zone, attending the conference brought me new friendships and the reassurance that our young people are becoming stronger in their faith at outstanding colleges in places I had only seen on a map.

There is just so much we can do seated in the chairs at our computers. When at all possible we have to step out and go.

“Nothing can take the place of being there.”