As strange as it sounds, one of the primary ways to tell if a college is a good fit is to ascertain the humor that is prevalent on campus. More than anything else, I feel a student discovers their people by finding those who laugh at the same kind of things.
I encourage teens to visit college campuses and break off from their parents to have a meal in a school cafeteria where they can join current students. Better yet, try to spend the night in the dorms. What are the topics of casual conversation? What do the kids see as funny? What are the intellectual discussions about?
Let me give you some examples. When my daughter visited her brother at Caltech, she was at the same intellectual level of the kids there, but was bored with constant references to Star Trek, the spirited arguments that resulted in two Chemistry references being thumped on the table to back up a point during dinner, and the other geeky jokes that she got, but didn’t enjoy. She and her husband’s humor (both Princeton grads) deal with excessive word play and puns. They love discussing art, literature, and music. People going to U Chicago had better be prepared for late night discussions of philosophy, theoretical computer science, and history. The topics come and go quickly and range all over the map.
When it comes time to find the colleges to go on your child’s list, I encourage you to look deeper than SAT scores and acceptance rates. Find out what makes the students laugh over dinner and you will discover the heart of the school.
Are you on our VIP List? If you would like to receive our newsletter, be the first to be notified of sales and new classes, and get special updates, click here!