Day one of our full-fledged college tours got off to a rocky start when it took us nearly 30-minutes just to find the freeway near our hotel. We were distracted by all the pedestrians who mistook us for a cab and tried to hail us. Who can blame them? We’re driving this.
No, this is not a random car that we saw in a parking lot and thought, "Hey, it would be funny if we took a picture of that monstrosity and put in the blog!" This is actually our rental car…for one more day. Until then, we’re going to fashion a large "Off Duty" sign to attach to its roof just to get people to stop trying to flag us down for rides around town.
We started with a drive to Baltimore and a tour at Johns Hopkins University where our tour guide was an International Relations major, an Army ROTC candidate, and a member of the a cappella group on campus.
There are three things you should know about Johns Hopkins: The most popular major on campus is Business and Entrepreneurship–not pre-med. Second, the pre-meds and the engineers apparently refer to those in all the other majors as "Dummies." (Note to future tour guides: If you say it, we’ll blog it!) And finally, Frank, a member of the Collegewise class of 2006, is a happy freshman earning extra money working at the front desk of the recreation center on campus. If Frank’s parents are reading, you should know that he was also studying behind the desk until our tour group showed up. He left his post just long enough to pose for a quick photo with Kevin (Frank is on the right, as if you couldn’t tell which one of us is still in college).
Next it was back to DC and The George Washington University where we had lunch with Torrey, one of Arun’s former Collegewise students who is now in his third week of his freshman year at GW. Wow, Torrey has really accomplished a lot in just three weeks. In addition to playing intramural sports and getting to know his professors, Torrey has already seen the President of Pakistan speak on campus and had reserved his seat to hear George Soros lecture that night. We were impressed.
We often tell students that there is no perfect college–that you have to work to make your college perfect for you. Nothing that Torrey (on the left) loves about GW has been handed to him, but in just three weeks, he’s already shaping his college experience. We figure Torrey’s success can be attributed to good genes, good sense, and a fantastic private counselor with great fashion sense back in high school.
We capped off our day with a very personal tour at American University where we were reminded that "same city" doesn’t necessarily mean "similar colleges." Georgetown is an all-brick campus that reminded us of Princeton, George Washington is spread across the heart of DC (its campus and hustle reminded us of NYU), while American is several miles from the city and reminded us both of the Claremont Colleges.
We doubt that anyone at American could be enjoying their college experiences more than our three (yes, THREE) tour guides. With just Arun and I on the tour, we turned lots of heads attached to current students who were undoubtedly wondering, "Why are those two old guys here checking out the dorms?"
A note to colleges about tour guides: High school kids will judge your college based on the tour guide. It’s not a smart practice, but it’s the one that many high school kids use. Choose your tour guides carefully. Make it one of the most coveted jobs on campus. Two of our three guides were rookies giving just their second tour, but their energy and obvious love of AU were contagious. We hope their supervisor gave them a good rating (they were being evaluated on our tour).
And now, it’s off to dinner with some friends from College Summit. We’ll be back tomorrow with write ups of Gettysburg and Dickinson, along with the much anticipated rental car drop off when we can stop being the most recognized drivers in town and return to being just "Kevin and Arun: Regular Guys."