How To Survive a College Visit With Your Teen

Here we go again!  The hubster and I.

Two summers ago, we took child #1, college visiting.  Last summer, we took him for a weekend long orientation at the college of his choice and were fortunate to re-live our college days, by staying in a real dorm room and sleeping in a prison cot dorm bed.  Except for this time, we didn’t get to make out.

They didn't even provide us with blankets...

They didn’t even provide us with blankets…

This summer, we are college visiting with child #2.  Help me.  Somebody.  Anybody?

Not to say there is anything wrong with child #2, except that girls can be…a bit different at times (a lot different a lot of times).  This experience has inspired me to write a survival guide for parents taking their teens on this, oh so lovely, experience.

Trust me, you will need this survival list:

The list you are about to read does not necessarily reflect the actual actions of all the parties involved and may have a tad of exaggeration in order to make it blog-worthy.  Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

1.  Do not expect your teen to have read the information about the college/s you are about to visit – until that day, in the car, during the drive, on her smart phone.  Most likely, she will only look up the boy/girl ratio and how the food at that college ranks.

2.  Do not wear any item of clothing that is even close to her fashion.  Moms, no belly shirts, short skirts, skinny jeans OR  owl shirts (especially if the owl eyes fall right over your large breasts.

“Mom, why are you wearing that owl shirt?”

Dads, for the love of God, do not wear brown or black socks with shorts and sneakers.  It is never fashionable (by the way).  Fanny packs and visors are banned from all campuses.

3.  Expect to either not have a conversation with your teen while driving to the designated college, or if you do, it will probably be a fight about why you cannot afford the college you are about to visit.

4. Insist that your teen bring a sweater/jacket even if it is 120 degrees out because this way, you won’t have to listen to her complain about how cold it is at the Admission’s Office.  

5.  If you have a death wish, then by all means take your camera out and attempt to take a picture of her while at the new college.  

6.  Do not arrive on time.  It is so NOT cool.  Arrive a little late and saunter over to the auditorium for the long information session followed by the long tour.  Don’t even think about sitting in the front row (are you crazy?)  Sit in the way back where you cannot hear or see the speaker, because that’s where she wants to sit.

7.  Do not make the mistake this poor dad sitting in front of me made.  He heard me take out some mints, turned around and asked me for one.  Yes.  I swear.  He actually turned around and talked to a stranger.  The look on his son’s and my daughter’s faces, said it all.  They were mortified that their parents had the nerve to speak with each other.  Oh, the horror.  In other words, do not speak to anyone near you, do not introduce yourself or extend your hand.  Sit quietly in your seat, act like a robot and do not move.  NEVER look at your teen while sitting next to her. Gag your spouse if he/she attempts to tell a joke or make a comment.  And as I learned the hard way, whatever you do, DO NOT HUM as you are waiting for the program to begin!  

8.  When finally on your walking tour, try to keep up with the group so you don’t fall too far behind (even though you will be huffing and panting because you are out of shape and these tour guides are way too spunky and fast), but make sure you are not right in front, brown-nosing with the tour guide or becoming her new bff.  DO NOT ASK any questions.  Let your teen ask (even though she never will).  If for some reason a dialogue begins between the tour guide and some parents, just agree and nod your head.

9.  If you must ask some questions, make sure they never include what the alcohol policy is at the college and where the “dry” dorm is.  Do not ask where the health center is or if the campus has emergency phones outside. And, NEVER ask how long the library is open ’till.  Duh! 

10.  When visiting a dorm room, do not comment on the package of condoms you see on the desk or how filthy the room is.  Never ask about curtains, hampers, matching comforters or coed bathrooms.  

11.  If lunch is provided, eat as much as you can because at least something in this world is still free  do not serve yourself a ton of food and look like a pig.  Do not introduce yourself to the other parents at your table,  and avoid the urge to hit encourage your teen to be nice and actually speak to someone/anyone. In addition, please check your teeth for any spinach remnants that may be trapped, before moving on.

12.  If you happen to LOVE the college you are visiting and you think it’s a perfect fit for your little bundle of so much joy, do not be an idiot and actually express your feeling to your teen.  If you love it, they will hate it. Duh!

13.  Do not be the parent who asks about financial aid or scholarships.  Smile and pretend that you too, can afford the 60 K per year.

14.  On the way home, do not ask your teen to tell you the 5 best and worst  things they liked about the college (just because they behave like two-year olds does not mean they like playing that game anymore.)  In fact, do not ask her anything at all.  She is already over it, texting her friends and listening to music as loudly as she can in the event you try to ask her questions about the visit.

15.  Get home.  Run to the liquor cabinet.  Serve yourself a stiff drink. Sit and sulk for endless hours.  Numb the depressing thoughts twirling in your head about you having to re-mortgage your home for the 3rd time and selling your car and all belongings on Craigslist,  just to afford the application fees to apply to all the wonderful colleges, you can’t afford.

The sooner you can escape from reality, the better.

35 thoughts on “How To Survive a College Visit With Your Teen

  1. Oh my word! This is so funny! I’ve got to pass this to my sister-in-law. My nephew will be a senior this fall, so they’re doing the college visits. Fun times!!


  2. I’m just evil enough I might do all of these things….for fun! Hope you survived in mostly one piece! Kerry


  3. This had me smiling and laughing all the way through..oh wait…sorry Mom! I see kids wearing black socks and sneaks all the time. I agree it doesn’t look that cool (being the 70’s child I am) but if the kids are wearing them they most be hip, right? You could always punish your offspring by asking a question and directly pointing to your daughter. She could never attend said school after that trama.


    1. I hate to tell you, Andy. But it looks better on the young cool hip guys…not that you are NOT one of those. 🙂 I suggest you save this post until your adorable girls get older and it’s…your time to take them. 🙂


  4. Right??? Funny Cuch!!! Though painfully… So true!!! I’m pretty sure I broke 90% of those rules (soooo uncool)!


  5. Oh man, too funny! I should print this out for future reference! 🙂
    Actually, I’m starting to understand where my BF is coming from when he says that we’re not paying for our future kids college education. He says our kids will have to work for it. I thought that was a little mean but honestly, kinda makes sense now. 😉


    1. It’s so ridiculously expensive! My kids have both worked throughout their high school years and understand the value of $$. It’s so tough when you want to provide them with the best opportunities but are limited by $$. In the end, everything will work out and be ok. 🙂


  6. My daughter is now 34 and finally speaking to me again. Not only did I commit most of these faux pas, but when it was time to move her into the dorm, my dad (who is handicapped) asked a boy, oops, young man, to help. She was cute and he helped and then followed her around for months. She was not happy with us. But, hey, carrying an entire house full of junk, I mean stuff, a long way got done in record time.


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