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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The College Quest Ends

With today's visit to Roanoke College I am thrilled to report that our college quest has come to a happy end. This is the one. We loved everything about it.

I suspected we were heading in the right direction, not only because the school had a name tag typed up and a Roanoke College t-shirt for my daughter, but after listening to a short presentation by the admissions person. She touched on areas no other college has touched on, explained how Roanoke College is changing with the times via their general education courses and not once directed anyone to go to the website to find an answer to their question.

After another fellow spoke on areas she hadn't touched, he showed two videos. Lo and behold, the students in these videos actually seemed like they had received a decent and well-rounded education. I took it as a good sign when one of the students spoke about her major and I recognized one of the bluegrass guitar players she was jamming with -- a really nice guy who I've heard pick many times.

Before we went on a student guided tour the school showed real class by handing us ice cold water bottles and cookies to help cool us in the hot sun and keep our blood sugar up. This tour guide was wonderful. She was an intelligent rising senior who knew the answers to all our questions.

We actually got to see the inside of buildings, classrooms, library, cafeteria, fitness center and dorm rooms. For a school that was built in 1842 it's remarkably well kept and up-to-date. This is the new language building, recently completed and sporting green technology.

All the dorms are air conditioned and have wireless capability as well. The rooms themselves are small but the outside sitting area is a nice size.

The bathrooms were also large and clean, and what I really liked was that in each dorm there was a kitchen area.

In the common area I would have sworn we were in a classy hotel lobby with a gift shop, couches, chairs, computers and a really cool game room. The only thing missing was the slot machines.

The grounds are beautiful and I love the feel of the place.

I like old, but it's not decrepit, it's classy. I got great vibes everywhere I went. In fact, I liked it so much I would let my daughter live on campus there, even though Salem is only a couple of miles from home. They allow freshman to have cars as well.

My two concerns were the programs offered and the price. Yesterday my daughter directed a news segment live, worked the teleprompter and did some coding for the local newscast. After the three years she has spent in the Mass Communications program at Burton as well as interning, there is nothing that a college is going to teach her that would rival actual experience. She decided getting a BA in Communications wouldn't be mandatory for her career choice and didn't want the lack of television production classes at Roanoke College stop her from considering it. Her other love is history and the history classes they offer more than suit her desires. She could get a BA in History as her major, minor in Communications and have a concentration in Italian. Yes, they offer Italian.

By the time we finished the visit my daughter was head over heels in love with the place. By the way, she almost cancelled going today because she didn't think it would suit her. I talked her into it, and loved that she hugged me tightly afterwards, "Thank you Mommy. I'm so glad I listened to you. I really appreciate everything you do for me." You're welcome.

Now the hard part...the price. It is not cheap. They said they do offer merit based scholarships as well as need based. My daughter thinks her grades are high enough that she'll be accepted and that she could get the price way down. She's already compiling private scholarship applications and said she is determined to go there. "I'm not even applying anywhere else and I'm going to ask the station if they'll hire me part-time after my internship is over."

I let her know I can only contribute so much and the rest is up to her, and if it's meant to be, it'll be. I think it's meant to be.

I can't believe we've had this gem in our backyard the whole time...


  1. Glad you were able to provide some mom wisdom.

    It looks like a fantastic place, and I hope that it all works out. I would think with the economy, private schools like that are trying harder than ever to recruit high quality students like your daughter.

  2. Of course you knew I'd come right back here the moment I read "Cheryl, you were right." Everyone wants to be right once in awhile (and told!) don't they?

    I'm so glad you both like Roanoke College. Marcy was never sorry she graduated from there with her bachelor of science. She landed a good job in the area.( She could have gone anywhere but loves it here) I was allowed to sit in on her Italian class one year (she took 2) and the teacher was wonderful.

    The hardest part was the money. Marcy will be paying it off for years, even with financial aid, it was the priciest school she checked out..but worth every penny. Thanks for letting me know I was right-for a change!!! LOL.

  3. Glad she found a school she likes. Roanoke College is excellent. There are always student loans, but they can sure cause anxiety. They do me, anyway.

    I don't know where you bank, but if you bank with a small bank, don't overlook them as a financing source. The large ones are useless but the smaller, hometown banks can be quite helpful.

  4. Thanks for the comments! Sorry it's taken me so long to respond...been busy reinventing my life. More on that soon!

    I hope this all works out. It would be a win-win for Roanoke college and Marie. From what I understand not many students receive a 5 on the AP US History Exam ;)

    Other colleges must realize she'd be a prime candidate because the offers keep coming...I swear I have enough mail from colleges all across the country to wallpaper her bedroom and the e-mails never stop! There are definitely worse things a parent could complain about so I consider myself very lucky ;)

    Now, about those scholarships...

  5. I love to pop in to your blog every now and then. This time I did a double take and read again to make sure, that OUR Roanoke College is the end of the college quest. I say that because I "made" my daughter go to one of last year's prospective student days and it was SO HORRIBLE we left early. Maybe it was a bad day, but absolutely everything that could go wrong did.

    The student and faculty presenters were horrible, the A/V presentation was inaudible, the cookies were crumbs pressed together on a tray and the water was warm. It was SO bad that I apologized to daughter for making her go.

    We live in Salem and I really thought that maybe it might be that easy...maybe, this would be the place for her. But instead, I actually called the admissions department to suggest ways that they could improve and to explain why my daughter had no more interest.

    We went to her first choice college in another state so she could at least have something to compare to. That school was amazing! (Not any cheaper, but amazing!) They had a richly done A/V and live presentation, served breakfast AND a gourmet lunch, and every student we saw had a passion for being there. It was an amazing difference. Maybe RC was having a bad day, but more than year later I still regret wasting a few hours there. Wow, I got that off of my chest! I hope it works out for your daughter and that she is sure this is the right match for her...

  6. I'm a big believer in first impressions so could totally understand your feelings if yours was lousy, as a similar thing happened to us at JMU. Maybe your suggestions helped this year's visit. I hope it's the right match for my daughter too, and it only will be it she gets some hefty scholarships ;) Hope your daughter is happy with her college choice. BTW, my son has been happy with his choice...VWCC, and so is my wallet.