The great college tour of 2015

When we moved to Australia, we knew that it probably wouldn't be realistic to go back and tour the US colleges on Maddy's wish list before she applied to schools so we promised her we'd make every effort to go take a look at them in person after she applied, heard back, and narrowed her options. Since there's only a month between the school decisions and the student's decision deadline, we knew it would be in April--which just so happened to be during Sam's semester break and right at the point when Lauren would be heading back to university in the US for spring term.

The schools she's deciding between could not be more different from each other. One school's strengths are one of the other school's exact flipside in terms of setting, feel, location, program, and price. They're all great options, though, and Maddy knew she needed to actually stand on campus to get a better feel each of them.

I'm the lucky gal who got to accompany her on her coast-to-coast campus research trips. I loved our long walks and talks, lazy jet-lag motel mornings, and watching her try on each of the parallel future paths. 

Now back home, Maddy's in decision mode as the notification deadline rapidly approaches at the end of the week. She's reviewing her notes, compiling more research, and constructing an impressive infographic display from index cards on a big blank wall in the house. We're asking questions and doing a lot of listening. They're all great options and this is the tough part. After mentally projecting yourself in each place how can you not mourn a little for the several paths not taken--no matter how wonderful your final choice is? 

[I have a lot more to say about this whole exhausting, somewhat broken process of applying to universities but will have to leave that for another day. Suffice it to say she's had some bumps and bruises along with some doses of happy news and trips to tour schools. Ah, life.]