The last time I updated you on the older boy’s college search, it was to tell you about the local community college and how our tour guide was, shall we say, probably not the best person for that job. Since then, we hadn’t, until Friday, made any actual visits, but the brochures and various other paperwork are cluttering up our mailbox on a daily basis and one of these days we’re going to have to reformat my lovely college information filing system.

On Friday we drove over the northern border to America’s Dairyland in order to visit a private college which is located on the shores of Lake Michigan in a town we actually lived in for four years. (Both boys were born there!) As our family was very young then, we had no reason to go to this college campus (it’s on the far north end of town and is fairly isolated), so it was totally new to us.

This college has the major that the boy wants, plus the secondary major he’s considering. It only has about 2,100 students, and they have a men’s lacrosse team. It is only about a 90 minute drive from the house, which means that he can come home on the weekends if he wants to but can still enjoy a good away-from-home college experience. It seems like the perfect storm. (Other than the cost. But we’ll deal with that obstacle when we get a little closer to making decisions.)

Triple bonus? The campus is gorgeous.


Our tour guide was awesome, which is something we totally appreciated. We visited during an Open House Day and walked around with about four other families.


I think the older boy could really visualize himself fitting in at this place. In fact, the younger boy really liked it too.

As we walked around, there was a distinct aroma of chocolate floating in the air. We couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. Finally, the older boy noticed that the college was using cocoa bean mulch. When I looked at the flower beds, I had to laugh. I noticed that this mulch was only in certain areas (along walkways, mostly) and didn’t even fill each flower bed; it might have only been in one corner of the flower bed, or along the side of the flower bed that ran along the walkway. I made the comment that this college is truly smart. The boys asked what I meant, and I told them that it was my opinion that they used the special mulch to make the common areas smell like chocolate, which would, release endorphins in anyone who could smell it, making them feel really good about visiting this college. I thought it was a genius marketing plan.

After our two-hour tour, we enjoyed a complimentary lunch in one of the dining halls, and got on the road towards home as the older boy declared this college to be on the Keeper List.