Another strategy: just be sensible

Washington Post writer Jay Mathews spent his career writing about education. But he’s always shown a particular fondness for injecting sanity into the college admissions process, not only with his regular doses of wisdom and calm via his pieces in The Post, but also in his book Harvard Schmarvard: Getting Beyond the Ivy League to the College That Is Best for You. A father himself who went through the process with his own two children, the mostly-retired Mathews still shows up occasionally to remind readers that you can avoid the anxiety and lunacy that seems to accompany so much of college admissions today by just taking a deep breath and behaving sensibly.

His recent piece on college visits, “Treat a college visit like you’re vacationing, not like you’re cramming for finals,” is a perfect example. Sure, some kids will willingly turn their college visits into note-taking, class-visiting, deep-researching ordeals that resemble investigative reporting more than they do a visit to a college they might want to go to someday. But most will not. And Jay, once again, reminds the rest of us who want to look back on this journey to college fondly that we can find the right college path by just being sensible.