An advertisement for a trip to Yellowstone National Park


College tours for high school seniors are exciting — perhaps more so for parents who might not have stretched their own horizons as broadly.

There are lots of issues to consider in choosing a college or university home: academic reputation, majors, cost, security, location, sense of community, and what admission counselors call “fit.”

The two schools our daughter has toured thus far have a policy we like: no cars during freshman year. It is a benefit for urban campuses with limited space but also, I believe, encourages students to engage in the campus community, learn to use on- and off-campus transportation and to coordinate schedules with others.

From dorms to dining to libraries, campus life has changed a great deal since my college days. There has even been a revolutionary change in laundry.

At Georgia Tech — which claims the fastest Internet service in the U.S. next to the Pentagon — the washers and dryers can send the student a message when the cycle is complete. Students can also check on the availability of these machines remotely.

At Vanderbilt, spoiled students have the option of a laundry service that magically turns dirty, wrinkled clothes into clean, folded clothes with just the drop of mommy and daddy’s cash.

But isn’t an important part of dorm life to laugh at the guy with the pink T-shirt — knowing that he tried to do a week’s worth of laundry on one quarter and failed to heed his mom’s advice about separating colors?

Education is important. A thorough education is even more important. I want our daughters to know both European history and where to put the fabric softener in the washer.

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