Let me just start out by saying this: No college or university, I don't care how good it is, is good enough for my daughter.
With that out of the way, I'll say this: I'm having the time of my life accompanying her on her college visits.
We kicked it off over that weekend in October that used to be known as MEA with a visit to Macalester College in St. Paul. Then, last Monday and Tuesday, we headed out to Madison and Chicago.
The University of Wisconsin was the kind of place that made me wish I was 18 again and picking out a school (although, truth be told, my college options were somewhat limited because of my shy GPA and a work ethic best described by the phrase "All dream and no drive.")
This place had everything. Among the highlights were dorms that overlook a scenic lake, world-class research, thousands of students proudly wearing their school colors, and the famous State Street, which connects the capitol and campus and is lined with shops, restaurants and other means of distraction.
From there we headed south to the University of Chicago, a place of stunning beauty. Gothic architecture and plenty of dark wood created an atmosphere that was intellectually intimidating. The only way I could see myself spending any real time there would be if I somehow conned them into hiring me on as custodian.
But I could definitely see Emma there. She's bookish and studious, and it didn't take long before I could picture her tucked into a study nook in one of their many grand buildings, where each one looks more like the Great Hall at Hogwarts than the last.
After "UChicago" it was up the shore of Lake Michigan to Evanston, Ill. There, the great campus of Northwestern University awaited. Like the other two tours, this one took place outside on days with biting wind and a little snow. Walking out of the Northwestern library and gazing across campus while snow fell through the trees was something I'll probably never forget.