The New York Times reports that a number of schools are doing some serious upgrading of their recreational facilities. In Making a Splash on Campus, schools like Louisiana State, Auburn, Texas, and Clemson share their philosophies on why your college needs a lazy river with WiFi.
Don't get me wrong. I love lazy rivers. But I don't think the existence of a lazy river on campus should define your college selection.
I also don't think that the right choice of college is about rural or urban; large or small; state or private. The right colleges are the ones that academically can meet you where you are, and that can help you develop expertise and skills that open the doors that you want opened.
Say, you love dancing and poetry. Then you need to apply ONLY to schools that have programs that include dance and poetry. If you love hockey and engineering, then you need to apply ONLY to schools that provide opportunities for you to play hockey at your level and to study engineering. If you love music and quantum math, you need to apply ONLY to schools that allow you to play your music and study your quantum math.
By identifying the specific things that you love to do with excellence, your college selection process becomes more manageable. You have standards that the prospective school must meet, and you have ways to determine whether you are interested in applying to the schools that all your friends are applying to. Around here, everyone seems to want to go to a Big 10, no matter what. But what matters. At the larger schools, mixing and matching your studies can be difficult, as some courses require admission to specific departments in order to sign up. At smaller schools, it could also be difficult because the school simply does not offer the desired courses at all.
Once you have identified the colleges that meet your standards, then by all means, check out the amenities. Once you have determined which colleges will "make the cut," check out who has the lazy river. If you really love spending time in a lazy river, then we know what your tie-breaker will be.
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