The real deal: what admissions counselors won’t tell you

I found out that the best way to visit a college is through the back door. Forget the formalities and prepared presentation of the school; as much as the effort is appreciated, this facade does not expose true college life.

Given, I will not understand college to its full extent until I go, but I would like to get as close as possible now. It will be my life for the next four years. It will not be as prim and proper as the typical college presentation. Being a realist, I wanted to see how the students live without banners and painted faces.

Over fall break, I visited Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee. While I appreciated the offered tour, the admissions meetings and the interview opportunities, I learned the most from the students who actually attend the school.

I have taken two or three tours of the campus before this trip; however, I failed to remember where the Noble Complex is until I went there for a volleyball tournament (and I don’t believe that this is solely because I am directionally challenged). I have listened to multiple admissions counselors and professors drone on about campus activities and events and how nice the new recreation complex is. Try as I did, I could not become legitimately interested until I attended “Freshman Follies,” a talent show put on by freshmen students at OBU. I didn’t experience the wonders of the RAWC (Recreation and Wellness Center) until I got hit a few times playing racquetball.

I got a small scale “college experience” when I played Beatles Rockband until nearly 2 in the morning and slept in, making me late to leave for the airport. For some reason, this never happened by listening to a lecture about all the great people I will meet in college and all the fabulous classes I will take. It definitely didn’t happen when I thumbed through “The Real Deal: What Every High School Student Should Know About College Life,” a pamphlet you can pick up in the guidance office, in case you’re interested.

Of course, the opportunity to see college through the students’ eyes in one weekend is not available to everyone, but if you ever get the chance, take it. It will open your eyes in a manner far more exciting than any admissions counselor ever will.