The Corner

Campus Segregation

There’s a column in the education section of the Washington Post that annoys me: Arguing that college admissions tours should divide up students and parents for tours because when they are together, students tend not to ask questions.

What questions are they afraid to ask?

Leung, the tour guide at Harvey Mudd, said he wanted his parents with him when he was a high schooler visiting colleges “because I wanted them to be okay with my coming to a college that they knew very little about . . . and I wanted to see their reactions during the tour.” But for many families, he said, tours without parents would work well because students would be more apt to ask about issues of concern to them, like the social scene, roommates, parties and dating.

Here’s a fuddy-duddy point: Choosing a college should first be about academics and scholarship. The social life is obviously important and an essential part of it, and will likely change your life (for better or worse), but I don’t think a little focus on the academic life, and adult questions like safety, too, can hurt high-school students, at least for this tour. Goodness knows they’ll be lots of social time during the spring view event for attempted students, and then countless ones during (sometimes both summer and fall) orientation. Keep the kids with their parents. They’ll be thrown to the dogs of “freedom” and “independence” soon enough!

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