Tom Field is well known in the Blue Ridge Region of Virginia for his illustrious career in publishing and marketing. He is co-founder and creative director of Valley Business FRONT magazine and owns a marketing consultancy firm in Salem, Va. He's also dad to three teens. Tom reported on his oldest teen's college tour adventures a year ago in A Tale of Two Visitors through our First College Visit series hosted on Handshake 2.0. He later shared the highlights of this adventure as one of our first guests on SmartCollegeVisit's CampusChat on Twitter. This week, on the one-year anniversary of SmartCollegeVisit, Tom provides a wrap-up of his journey as a parent and the decision-making process of teen No. 1.
I jumped into your company and service upon your deployment, which happened to coincide with my first child's search for college. We talked about the campus visit process, and our summer circuit around the state. We discovered each campus has its own very distinctive personality–which shines through when you actually step on their hallowed grounds. The TONS of marketing that preceds visits may or may not match the onsite actual environment, but NOTHING is the same as the experience of walking and touching the very place where you will be investing your life.
So what happened with my first child? She's at the University of Virginia. One of the schools at the top of her list (of the three she finally applied to) and the ONLY campus we… ummm…. actually did NOT visit! We've been on "the Grounds" numerous times through the years, but we never did the official tour.
Oh… and one other thing about our experience. She actually accepted another university too, prior to her acceptance at U.Va; so we "lost" our $600 deposit at that one (as they refused to return it, four days after the "non-refundable" cutoff, even though that timeframe was well in advance of the term–and did not allow sufficient time for final acceptance at other schools). So, beware of that little piece of trickery, parents! And you're welcome, GMU, for our donation.
The moral of our college entrance experience? It's HECTIC with a capital "H." And the captial letter is not for the word, "hectic," let me tell you. You will hate (another "H" word) the paperwork, and the paperwork, and the followup with more paperwork. But the "F" word is worth it. Yes, "FAFSA" is your "friend." We are so happy for child number one…and we will put up with all the H-words and F-words for child number two and child number three in 2012 and 2015. Thanks SmartCollegeVisit for your service, your information, and your "pre-education" for "post-education." Again, happy anniversary!