"As teenagers approaching high school graduation in New York, neither my wife, Debbie, nor I visited colleges with our parents. We didn’t know what we wanted, and we applied to the State University of New York at Albany because it was a place our friends had applied to. It worked out for us—we met at SUNYA—but I wouldn’t call Albany idyllic; outside of Debbie, my memories are of concrete, bars, wind, and chicken wings.
"When our son Myles reached that age, he wanted to visit a few colleges, and he asked us to join him. It was a first-time experience for everyone. Myles knew he didn’t want to go to a school too far away from our home in Chicago, so we mostly went to check out campuses in-state. At first, we merely saw this as something parents do for their kids, but we soon realized these visits were family trips in disguise.
"Of course, they weren’t all great trips. Our first was to Northern Illinois University, where … there was a lot of construction. It was a gray and dreary day, and we didn’t see any students walking around. Minutes into the visit, Myles turned to me and asked, “Can we go?” We didn’t even have lunch before driving home. Considering it was the first campus visit for all of us, we couldn’t help but wonder, would they all be like this?"