Thursday, August 14, 2014

Choosing a college, part 1.

August 14, 2014

I realize posts from me have become like a Yeti sighting (infrequent and rather hairy), but I feel the need to document our recent college visit activity. 

Beth and CJ have had a very productive summer and it seems to have lasted longer than last summer.  I know this sounds like bitter sentiment from a person who does not get summers off, but I really mean it as a positive comment.  Last summer was rather messed up and that made it seem here and gone too quickly.  This summer, Beth has gotten so many things done around the house that it seems more like time well spent.

However, it suddenly became painfully obvious that a college visit or two would be an excellent thing to get done before school starts.  CJ will be a senior in high school.  That is very difficult for Beth and I to say out loud as it was not that long ago that he was learning his ABC's and reaching for the moon saying  "I can't reach it" in a voice so obviously belonging to a little kid.  Now, when people call the house, they are not sure if it is CJ or myself who has answered the phone.

So college.  We have long thought that CJ would end up at the University of Cincinnati.  Of the Ohio colleges, their tuition is not too unreasonable, they are close to home, and they are a quality institution that offers a coop program that we consider very important.  This was the basis we were starting from.  Oh, and it has been a given all along that he was going to live on campus wherever he went.  The true college experience complete with dirty underwear and Doritos for dinner.

As it turns out, you need a lot more information than that to pick a college.  Shocking, I know.  Here are some of the things we have learned.  First, when a young person is good with computers and wants to learn enough to make them his career in college, you need to choose your field of study.  Fortunately, CJ did not decide on a major involving computers because he is good at computer games and really enjoys Facebook.  He has built his own computer and has tried to learn about coding and the things that make your computer perform functions.  I know that was pretty technical, but my knowledge begins and ends with how you turn a computer on and whether I need to right click or left click to read about how badly the Reds lost last night.

We discovered that Information Systems and Computer Science are a couple of degrees you can earn in college.  The we took a trip to Ohio State.  As it turns out, Information Systems at Ohio State is a course of study in the Liberal Arts college, and Computer Science is over at the College of Engineering.  We read a couple of brochures that tried to distinguish the two and ended up at the College of Engineering.  This began a day of tours and info sessions that not only showed us the OSU campus, but some details of coming to OSU as a computer science guy.  A computer science guy at OSU starts out taking all the same classes as the incoming freshmen whose intent is to become engineers.  And a point was made that the goal of the College of Engineering is to weed out the serious and capable from the students who really need to be studying something less difficult, like Retail Management.  It was the ole, look to your left, look to you right, out of the three of you only one will survive the program.  Okay.  Then one of the professors from the engineering program spoke for 40 minutes about the Wright Brothers and we were ready for a nap.

Since you also are ready for a map, and this post has the potential to get really long, I will break up this adventure into different posts.  I know you are on the edge of your seat and waiting to see how Annie Walker gets out of this latest pickle, but that will have to wait until my next installment.    I will tease it by saying we went to a school that calls itself the Harvard of the Midwest.

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