I didn’t shop around much for colleges back in 1978-79, my senior year of high school.
I pretty much knew my path, largely for financial reasons.
It was Northwest Junior College at Phil Campbell, Ala., first and then the University of North Alabama. Both were close to home, and since my dad died when I was 10, and my mom was working hard to help me continue my education, that was best.
I did expect two years at Northwest, but it turned out to be just one – then on to UNA. If I had to do it over again, I’d take the same route.
Much has changed in 40 years, when it comes to selecting a college.
Thank goodness, the ACT score wasn’t all that important back then. Today, it means everything when it comes to college choices and scholarships.
Plus I don’t recall getting flooded with information from colleges. And I finished fifth academically in a class of about 100.
Things have gotten a lot more competitive these days, when it comes to colleges going after high school grads.
For a few months now, since our youngest child, Erin, entered her senior year of high school, a lot of time and thought has been given to the question, “Where to next?”
We went through the college-choice process with our older two,Emma and Andy, but this one has been different. That’s largely because each child is different in his/her approach and goals, and this one has definitely been weighing her options.
E-mails and text messages from colleges have been constant. And the bulk of the mail we receive in the mailbox at the end of our driveway these days is addressed to Erin.
The letters and postcards have come from places like Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Alabama, Arkansas State, Arkansas Tech, Harding, Memphis, Christian Brothers, North Alabama, Delta State, Itawamba Community College, Northwest Community College, Rochester, Central Arkansas and more.
She has officially applied to and been accepted to seven of those.
And as of this writing, her mother and I think she has narrowed it down to two.
She’s visited Southern Miss, Itawamba Community College and Arkansas State.
Pam and I accompanied her to Arkansas State a week before Christmas. It was my first time to visit both the city of Jonesboro and the university. We toured the campus and visited the Honor College. It has turned into one of her top choices.
And, of course, there’s that tug toward Southern Miss, the alma mater of her siblings.
A few more college visits may be on the agenda.
Deadlines are fast approaching when it comes to scholarship applications. That process has taken up a lot of Erin’s free time during the Christmas/New Year’s vacation.
And she continues to receive lots of good help and advice along the way – from her high school teachers, guidance counselor, and brother and sister and parents.
Erin, who turned 18 on January 1, wants to chart her own path. And we know she will, no matter what college she chooses.