Summertime and the Livin’ Is Easy

Everyone asks me the same question. “So what do you do during the summer?”, as if the admissions cycle goes on hiatus as soon as the sun gets high in the sky. 

Actually, things do slow down in Admissions in June and July but it’s like the eye of a hurricane: there’s a false impression of calm before the next wall of wind hits.  One admission cycle is finished (if you’re a member of the incoming Class of ’13, stop reading, move on!) while the next is on temporary pause as juniors become, like bread, “rising” seniors. 

Campus is quiet.  The landscape is lush (a silver lining after a really wet June).   My in-box is more or less empty.  I even escaped to Croatia for a two-week bike trip up its hills and mountains (more of the latter than the former).  Wherever you are, I hope you are lying low and enjoying the respite from school and deadlines and “searching.” Embrace being a kid for one last summer.  (Wear sunscreen.)

Some of you (okay, lots of you…) will appear on campus for summer tours and info sessions.  You’ll drive from campus to campus with a parent or two in tow and maybe even a younger sibling who was too young to leave behind.  You’ll bicker a bit as the miles and verbiage adds up. 

This morning, as I was lingering in the lobby before presenting an info session, I overheard a boy snap at his mother. “Go sit down!” he barked.  “I can fill out the card without you reading it over my shoulder.”  Good times!  (For the record, the mom was unfazed.  She simply slid over to the receptionist and asked for a campus map.)

Summer visits are important, often your only chance to see a campus before senior year arrives.  And maybe you’ve taken a peek at the supplemental essays.  But there’s a reason the old-timers referred to “the lazy, hazy days of summer” and others use the word “summer” as a verb.  Summer is special whether you are 17 or 47 or 87.  Don’t let your college search ruin the moment.  September will be here soon enough and it will be time for us to talk. 

Summer demands a mellow approach; c’mon, you’re wearing shorts! Visit campus and follow the tour guide who has mastered the art of walking backwards in flip flops.  Take some notes as people like me explain why each campus is “special.”  Read a blog or two.  Play Scrabble. 

Most importantly, listen to yourself. Ask yourself a key question: “Am I lingering on one school more than the others?” Did one campus give me a zing in the stomach when I stepped on its quad?  Maybe a favorite is emerging?  Don’t confess your inkling just yet. Make a mental note and recheck your impulse on Labor Day.  Things change.

Enjoy this (hopefully sunny) eye of the admissions storm.  The winds will return soon enough and it will be time to get serious.  But not now, not yet; it’s still light outside at 8:30 (at least where I live).


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