More College News!

Boo has been accepted to two more colleges: Lewis & Clark College, alma mater of Monica Lewinsky; and Bard College, which is the #1 School for Dinner Parties according to The Onion. Yay, Boo!

And now, so as not to bug the crap out of everyone, Boo will be taking a month long break from announcing college admission decisions. She should hear from Bennington by the end of January. Then, the rest of the decisions will come in March — when we will recommence bugging the crap out of everyone.

But don’t worry, in the interim, I will still be here, bugging the crap out of everyone. Especially Boo.

Boo Has a Choice

Boo got her second acceptance yesterday — to Lawrence University. Lawrence is one of her “wild card” schools. Even though it may seem like we visited every small liberal arts college in America, we didn’t make it to Appleton, Wisconsin to visit Lawrence. Lawrence was recommended to Boo by her college counselor. The more I’ve learned about it, the more I understand why it would be a good fit. Hippie, music conservatory, small, etc. And in one of those little ironies, I’ve learned that my great-grandfather graduated from Lawrence and was later given an honorary degree by the school. (He was a trailblazer in advertising in the way, way back.)

In other good college news, my oldest nephew was accepted early decision to Tufts University yesterday. He is thrilled, and I am thrilled for him. My brother (affectionately known as “the Pinhead”) and his wife done good. So congratulations, Spawn of Pinhead!

Boo Is Going to College!


Boo got her first college acceptance today — to Mills College. Mills was a late addition to her list of colleges and falls into the category of “keeping options open” if, for some reason, she decides to stay close to home. Still many more decisions to come (not to mention a few more applications to complete). But it’s a relief to have one in the bag.

10 Types of Guides You See on Campus Tours

image If you haven’t yet been on a college tour, there’s something you need to be aware of.  Your tour guide can make or break your impression of a school. After going on dozens of college tours, here are 10 types of tour guides you might meet. You may have better chemistry with some than others. It’s better to be prepared.

10 Types of Campus Tour Guides

Welcome! I’m Davina. I’m a dance major from Rochester. At the moment, I’m working on my senior project — which is an interpretation in movement of an 18th century Japanese feminist tract incorporating elements of African dance, primal scream and pogo sticks. After graduation, I’m hoping to get a job as an investment banker.  Let’s get started.

Hey. My name is Brett. I’m from Arlington. I’d appreciate it if you would keep your voices down. I’m super hungover.

Hi!!!! 🌺🌷💐 I’m Amber!!!!! 🦄🐶🐱🌈 I’m from Orlando, and I’m sooooo excited to tell you about the community service activities I do with my sorority sisters!!!! 💛❤️💙💜💚!!!

Hi! I’m Zell. My preferred pronouns are zhe and zher. I’m from Portland, and I’m majoring in oppression studies. But before we start, I’d like to apologize that our campus is so ableist.  If you’ll follow me, I’ll take you to our first stop — the yurt.

Hi! I’m William. I’m from Boise, Idaho.  I’m an honors English major.  I’m working on my thesis “The Epistemology of Elegy and Essentialism in Frankenstein and Fifty Shades of Grey — A Proto-Feminist Critique.” I’m also president of the College Republicans.

Hi? I’m Maya? I’m from Newport Beach? I’m majoring in marketing? With a minor in fashion design? After graduation, I’m hoping to work for Ralph Lauren? Or as a personal assistant to Kimye?

Hi. I’m Julia. I’m a computer science major from Wayzata, Minnesota. I’m president of the Tri-College furry club. And I play the oboe.

Hi, I’m Rob. I’m an exercise science major from Lenexa, Kansas.  I can bench press 2 times my body weight.  Seriously.  If you’ll hold still, I’ll lift you over my head.

Welcome! I’m Eleanor.  I’m from Boulder and I’m majoring in environmental science and sustainability studies.  Let’s head to the new language study center.  It’s LEED certified and has a vegetable garden and chicken coop on the roof.  We use the produce and eggs from the roof garden in our cafeteria and I sleep on a pillow stuffed with molted chicken feathers. I’m also so excited that we’ve convinced facilities to acquire a herd of goats that will be used for weed control on campus instead of carbon emitting machinery.

Hi! I’m Marcus.  Sorry I was a few minutes late.  I just got back from my internship in Sen. Warren’s office. Anyway, I’m the president of the SGA, so if you want to know anything about student government, I’m your man.  Also, I run cross country.  And I’m doing research on using robotics to stimulate cell regeneration.  And I’m playing Stanley in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” If anyone needs me to do this tour in ASL while walking backwards, please let me know.

Follow Me on Facebook!  Really!  We have lots of fun over there. And click here for my popular “Your Mom’s Guide to College” series.

Ten Questions I’d REALLY Like to Have Answered at a College Information Session


As a veteran of many — probably too many — college information sessions, I’ve come to realize that they’re all pretty much the same. Some of the fine details may differ, but generally, you’ll get a description of the curriculum, the graduation requirements, the application process, financial aid, study abroad and some vague description abou . . .


Sorry. I think nodded off for a minute there.  That happened to me a lot during information sessions.

Ahem. Back to business. I can barely remember any of the information sessions Boo and I attended — with the exception of two spectacularly bad ones; one of which left me wanting to punch the pretentiousness out of the admissions officer and the other made me want to stuff a sock in the mouth of another parent. I might have actually done the sock stuffing except that it was very clear that her daughter wanted to do it way more than I did, and I hate to rob kids of their fun.

In any event, the sameness of the sessions made me ponder the questions that I would really like to hear answered during an information session.  What would really be practical information and set the schools apart and give me a sense of what the school is really like? So I came up with this list of the ten questions I would really like to have answered at an information session.

Information Session Questions

1. What is your policy on responding to a panicked mother who has watched too many episodes of Dateline and whose daughter is not responding to texts?  Asking for a friend.

2. Which movie most accurately reflects life on your campus: a) Animal House (party school); b) The Social Network (school full of ruthless/annoying dweebs); c) Revenge of the Nerds (speaks for itself); d) Scream 2 (for God’s sake, are you so stupid that you’re going out by yourself? There’s a serial killer on campus!); or e) Pitch Perfect (awesome a cappella battles!)?

3. Are admissions here rigged?  Because I hear they’re rigged.  Believe me.

4. What footwear am I most likely to find in the closet of a female identifying student: a) Birkenstocks; b) Ferragamo pumps; c) super cute flip-flops (squee!); d) hiking boots; or e) Manolos?

5. Has your marching band ever been disciplined for an obscene or offensive half time show?  If yes, please describe the theme of the show.

6. Is there parking for helicopters?  Again, asking for a friend.

7. Name the alumnus/alumna you are most embarrassed to admit attended your school.

8. Which academic department is led by the craziest person?

9. It’s 11:00 p.m. on a Saturday, where is my child most likely to be: a) a frat party; b) a poetry slam; c) hanging out with friends from high school; d) in the library; or e) passed out?

10. Which of these most accurately reflects the usual level of interaction between students and professors: a) my professor came to a party in my dorm room;* b) my professor and her spouse have her students over for dinner; c) office hours only; d) I’m the person in row 23; or e) what professors — I only see grad students.

*Some day I’ll tell the story of when the Mayor of Providence ended up at a party in my dorm room.

Follow me on Facebook.  We have lots of fun there. Not that this isn’t fun, of course. Because it is fun. Fun, fun, fun.  But TBH it’s more fun there.  Because we talk.


The World’s Dumbest Feud Goes Nuclear


As most of my regular readers know, College Confidential and I have been engaged in the World’s Dumbest Feud (©2016 Your Mom) for some time now.  If you need the background you can find it here with an update here.

In a nutshell, the World’s Dumbest Feud (©2016 Your Mom) is a really stupid feud between me and the website College Confidential which led to me being banned from posting the continuation of my popular Hippie College Guide on CC.  I still have absolutely no idea why I was banned.  After I was banned, they left the content up, but cut off my access so that I could no longer post on the site.

Even in my absence, the thread continued and would sporadically come back to life.  Today, the poster who had previously called me “annoying” after I was first banned decided to question my judgment with respect to my decision to write about Boo’s college search.  S/he thought it was a bad idea.

In response, I created a “How Bad a Parent Is Your Mom?” poll on my Facebook page and linked to the poll on my blog.

Even though I am no longer on CC, the CC moderators still apparently feel compelled to monitor my Facebook page and/or blog.  (It’s like being monitored by the KGB.)

Anyway, it appears that my “Bad Mom” poll below made the College Confidential moderators mad enough to employ the nuclear option. They deleted the recent posts by other users, closed the Hippie Colleges thread, and removed it from the search results. I guess they don’t like me. They really, really don’t like me.

Or maybe they’ll drunk text me later and ask if they can come over.  Because they’re obviously obsessed with me. 😉 Continue reading The World’s Dumbest Feud Goes Nuclear

Your Mom’s Guide to College Rankings

Last week, I spent a whole night refreshing my browser until the U.S News “Best Colleges” rankings were finally published.  It was an evening fraught with terror because — as we all know, the USN&WR rankings are the definitive arbiter of all that is good and worthwhile in a college education.  Also, if your kid doesn’t attend a top 10 school, you are a failure as a parent.

After reviewing the list, I came to the sad, sad conclusion that I’m likely going to be a failure as a parent.  Boo is only bothering to apply to one of the top 10 LACs and none of the top ten national universities. But to all you other failures out there, take heart.  Come cry your bitter tears with me.  I’m saving you a seat at the bad parent table.  We’ll be sullen and weird — just like the Ally Sheedy character in “The Breakfast Club.” Only old, possibly drunk, and definitely cranky.  And none of us will be dating Emilio Estevez at the end of the day.

But then I looked at the methodology USN&WR uses for determining the “Best Colleges” and felt much better.  More than a third of the ranking is based on “reputation” and “selectivity.”  If I were being judged by that criteria, I would perform poorly too.  My reputation is mediocre at best, and I am in no position to be highly selective.  In high school, I was a cross between Tracy Flick from “Election” and Urkel.  As an adult, little has changed.  So if I were a college, I would be well out of the top 10.

Because I think that popularity is a poor way to judge colleges, I have come up with my own methodology for ranking colleges.  I believe my criteria are a much better metric for ranking colleges.  You be the judge.

Your Mom’s Methodology for College Rankings

Affordability (40%) — I doubt that Warren Buffett, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg is reading this blog (despite its obvious brilliance).  If they are reading it: a) Uh, Hi! Um . . . don’t you have more important things to do with your time?; and b) you can skip this part.  But for the rest of us mere mortals, let’s face it, affordability is really a threshold metric.  There is no point in looking at any other criteria unless you can pay the king’s ransom demanded by most colleges.  Running the net price calculators for Boo’s target colleges sends me into fits of rage, floods of tears, or Ocean’s Eleven style fantasies of robbing a casino.  With George Clooney.  So on second thought, I guess it’s not all bad.

Weather (5%) — I have told Boo that she should go to school in Southern California because of the weather.  In a completely unsurprising turn of events, she will not listen to me.  But I suspect I will have the last laugh on this one. Mwah ha ha!  I have started to practice saying “I told you so” every night in front of the mirror.  Can’t wait to break that out during her first winter vacation.

Beer (5%) — For the record, I hate beer.  Also, for the record, I drank beer in college.  Because college.  Maybe things will be different at Boo’s chosen hippie college.  But I doubt it.  They’ll probably just drink organic free range beer made by mute Tibetan monks instead of regular beer.

Peers (20%) — Yes, I know the purpose of going to college is to get an education.  But now, 30+ years after I graduated, I barely remember my classes.  I do remember my friends — despite the beer.  My college friends had (and continue to have) a far more profound effect on my life than any class I took.  So find your tribe of kind, smart, interesting and diverse people, and avoid the jerks, the mean kids and the phonies.  (CoughHarvardcough). And pray to God that your freshman roommate is not a ticking time bomb.

Professors/Class Size (15%) — This is one of many areas where Boo is showing that she is much smarter than I was at the same age.  She is not having huge lecture classes, inaccessible professors or classes taught by grad students.  Nope.  Not going to happen.  She wants small seminar style classes and lots of opportunities to interact with her professors.  In contrast, I did almost everything I could to avoid my professors — possibly because my freshman academic advisor may have been the single scariest person I have ever met.  Not serial killer style scary.  But scary in almost every other way.  Advantage Boo.

Food and Housing (10%) — Food and housing won’t make or break your college experience, but they can definitely have an effect.  For example, I went to a college where the main campus dining room was called “The Ratty” — with reason.  And during my freshman year, I lived in a cinder block dorm with built in furniture that was so far from campus, it might as well have been in Siberia.  In contrast, High Point University has its own steakhouse (on the meal plan) and its dorms include swimming pools, hot tubs, a first-run movie theater with free snacks, an arcade, a putting green and a free ice cream truck.  In my next life, I am so going to High Point.

Distractions (5%) — This is very much a “choose your own adventure” category.  There are schools that have amazing outdoor adventure clubs and climbing walls.  There are schools where the thrills and opportunities of big cities are right outside your door.  There’s the University of Missouri that has an indoor beach, a lazy river and a grotto based on the one at the Playboy mansion.  And then there was Providence in the ’80’s — a mafia haven with a cesspool of a river flowing through it.  Good times.

Follow me on Facebook for updates! And if you enjoy this blog, please share it with your friends!

Look for my Guides to the Hippie Colleges of America and the Ivy League here.

Your Mom’s Guide to College

For my popular Guide to the Hippie Colleges of America start here and then move forward to the next entries.  There are reviews of Hippie Colleges in the Pacific Northwest, Ohio, and two trips to the Northeast.

Now new and improved with the addition of:

Your Mom’s Guide to the Ivy League”

Your Mom’s Guide to the Personal Statement

Your Mom’s Guide to College Rankings

Ten Questions I’d REALLY like to Have Answered at a College Information Session” and

10 Types of Guides You Meet on Campus Tours

Follow me on Facebook for updates!  And if you enjoy this blog, please share it with your friends!