By Sam Coren
Whether you’re BFF with your parents or can’t stand to be in the same room as them, you can’t ignore the fact that they play a huge role in your college search. And there’s nothing that screams “quality time” more than going on college tours with mom and pops in tow, is there?
Parents embarrassing you on your college tours is one of those last awkward teenage rites of passage. At the end of the day you need to remember: they only do it because they care. Before you know it you’ll be half way through your first semester of college and dying for a home cooked meal.
So before you set out campus hopping with your parents, brace yourself for some of the most embarrassing questions that parents ask on college tours:
Where are the best parties?
Yes, dad, because you’ll be going to all the keggers as my wingman. While many parents do this to try to sound cool, it tends to backfire by putting the tour guide on the spot. Do they be honest and tell you the best place to go for weekend ragers? Or do they play it safe and tell you about all the squeaky clean on-campus activities they have every weekend in the student union? Sure it breaks up the monotony of a tour that’s gone stale.
But when it comes down to it, this question is one that’s better for you to ask another student personally rather than let your parents ask on your behalf. If that’s not an option, you can snoop around for college reviews of the schools you’re visiting to get an idea.
Tell me about the drug scene.
Ok mom – I get that you were “cool” back in college and experimented with drugs, but that doesn’t need to be brought up on the tour. Even parents who don’t have an experimental past ask this one. Parents should understand that despite school policy and the law, drugs tend to find their way onto almost any college campus.
While this might not be an appropriate topic to bring up during a college tour, it’s probably a good idea to talk to your parents privately about their thoughts on college drug use if you haven’t had that chat already. No matter what stance they take in the end you’ll find that they just want you to be safe and stay out of trouble.
Where do the hot girls hang out?
You’re pushing it with this one, aren’t you, dad? Aside from wasting everyone’s time on a pointless question, it’s not fun having the tour group feel sorry for you that your father’s a dirty old man. You want to know where the hot girls hang out, pops? Far away from you.
Are overnight visitors of the opposite sex allowed?
College dorms, fortunately, are typically not run like your parents household. Unless you’re touring a school with a strong religious affiliation or strict housing policies such as curfews, most colleges don’t have rules that discriminate against the gender of your “slumber party” guests. However, when you do move into your first dorm, it’s a good idea to make sure your roommate has fair warning that someone (regardless of their gender) will be spending the night.
How do I keep my daughter from having sex?
When college tour guides hear questions like this it’s a red flag that this is the type of parent that has a hard time trusting their child. It’s also a red flag that the parent has no qualms with making their child die of embarrassment.
Your high school to college transition can be just as hard for your parents to adjust to as it is for you. It’s important to maintain open lines of communication and talk about each other’s expectations before you cut loose from the nest. Remember, when it comes to parents it’s better to work with them, then fight them – you’ll miss them soon enough once you start college.
Photo: Peter Gene