The Midwest College Road Trip

There are places that are gorgeous, and places where the fit is not so great.  Then there are places that you visit and you see home.  Home for your child, and peace for your mind as a parent.

If our son had his way, he’d be Mikhail  Baryshnikov, complete with the home in Russia.  If we have our way, being off the family payroll is enough.  So, in order to help him reach his goals and have an industry-related, soft landing spot if he falls short, I talked him into coupling his dance studies with a Kinesiology degree. This decision is in spite of his passion for history, which, I figure, wouldn’t be industry-related. However, a Kinesiology degree is not a Kinesiology degree is not a Kinesiology degree dependent upon where you go. Some schools offer something like it, and there is always the particular bent of the school as to what department that degree exists within such that you know in what direction your studies are being guided. As an example, some colleges offer Kinesiology as a part of their Health and Applied Sciences departments, some offer it within their School of Performing Arts. What you plan to do with the degree then becomes critical. As if that weren’t enough, most schools offer a single major: Kinesiology. So, imagine our shock and surprise when we found this school, offering a breakdown of Kinesiology majors within a Kinesiology department. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

In one of those strange twists of divine fate that only happen in our family, we had four airline tickets that we needed to use. Since the oldest was soon due back in the midwest for her second year of college, we decided to couple her return with another college road trip for our son. We began the family’s tour at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.


kids at indiana university aug 2014

In order to fully capture our enthusiasm about this school, I should first say that we toured during the week that everyone was returning to campus. According to the school’s website, there are NO tours during that week. Yet, when we called to explain our predicament (in town overnight, visiting from TX, etc.), they coordinated a full day of Q&A with various department representatives for us to meet–impressive for a school of that size. Because of the week in which we traveled, however, we were not able to ask our usual set of questions while touring; the players and the order of the day were decidedly different.

What we did get was a meeting with the Kinesiology department advisor, the Admissions Director, and a representative from the famous Jacobs School of Music. As I mentioned previously, Indiana was the only university we have visited thus far that actually has an entire department with majors underneath; most schools have kinesiology as the single major. Here, this young man’s coursework could take any path from physical therapy to exercise science to sports broadcasting. For someone who had shifted his interest to a scientific area more so at his mom’s urging, this young man returned home excited about this field of study and how he could use the degree in his future. A significant part of his elation was the uncanny connection he made with the Student Advisor, who had walked his same path throughout her career, and had worked at almost every school he was considering! As she shared candidly, my husband and I sat staring, surely thinking in our collective mind that this woman was truly a Godsend! She was also able to connect our son to a student–a student who actually slowed down and actually wrote him–regarding the details of his plan.

micah at indiana univ shot 3
(This photo has little to do with the visit except that the fountain was on campus, but the youngest’s choice to photo bomb was one of our biggest laughs)

As I mentioned previously, this was not our standard visit, so we saw no dorms, nor did we visit a cafeteria. That type of visit will come later, like when he auditions, maybe? And having said that , I come to the downsides–at least as I see it.

We had a very informative visit with the school of music, which houses the dance program. I think that up until this visit, ballet had always been–in my mind, at least–something he would do while pursuing his academic degree. I never thought of dance as THE thing that he would do, such that he has to fit his academic pursuits around his dance and performance schedule. (Maybe I heard what I wanted to hear?) At any rate, like an aspiring professional athlete, these kids dance all day. Actually, they dance 4-6 hours every day, which means he will have to fit his other major around that type of schedule. This immediately means two things for us: 1) we are looking potentially at summer school and/or a 4-year+ college stay in order for him to do what he wants to do, and 2) he will probably not be able to work during his stay there. A work-study job has been a blessing to out family in that it allowed the oldest to have her own pocket money without calling home, and she doesn’t have to take substantial loans. We have never limited our children’s college searches to local campuses or in-state schools, but we have been clear that going out-of-state is a partnership, with expectations on both sides. Personally, I left the campus feeling overwhelmed with a need to pray on that same release of financial favor or better over our son. Stay tuned.

While heading west, we also made a quick stop at a college we found through Colleges that Change Lives, Knox College. Knox had a major that intrigued our son–dance occupational therapy, I believe, and their recruiting efforts have been nothing short of aggressive. Besides, the advantage of seeing Knox on this particular trip was that it was conveniently on the road.

micah at indiana univ shot 1

This campus was cozy and beautifully maintained. Upon seeing the school and the very, very small town, however, we quickly realized what a missed fit it would be for our son, who is accustomed to something a bit more cosmopolitan.

So, Jesus, if you really are at IU, can you meet us there with Jehovah Jireh provision? Please? ?

micah at indiana univ shot 2


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4 thoughts on “The Midwest College Road Trip

  1. Thanks for sharing your college tours. I recently dropped off my 17yr old and 19yr old off at college (they decided to attend together, even share an off campus apartment). They visited many schools but fell in love with the school they selected. I did too! It’s so important to find a college that wants our kid’s success as much as we do.

    1. You are right, Nita. We tried to get our son interested in his sister’s will-be alma mater, but he’d have none of that–LOL!!! (In all seriousness, they didn’t have the program he wants). I am trusting God that He will close and open the doors in which we are to walk, and it will be made plain to us where to step. Thanks for your perspective.

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