One important college consideration beyond academics is often completely neglected. Food.
Your son or daughter is going to eat three nutritious, healthy, well-balanced meals every day of each semester, right?
We know kids who go off to college and gain 10 pounds by their first visit back home... and a bunch of others who ended up living on Wheat Thins and Triscuits "because everything behind the dining-room glass looked gross."
There are healthy options to be aware of. Villanova offers a bag lunch program for kids who are just too busy to take a half hour out to sit and eat at a table. Oklahoma State meal plan money can be transferred, with some restrictions, from one semester to the next.
Roasteries and other coffee makers have popped up at multiple high-traffic points on numerous campuses. Starbucks has tested coffee trucks chasing students on the campus of Coastal Carolina University. Stanford has a "peanut sensitive" dining hall. Participants in Oberlin's Student Cooperative Association decide the menu, prepare the food and handle cleanup. And best of all, UC-Davis has a farmers' market on site and allows students to put a small portion of their meal plan budget towards farm fresh veggies and fruit in spring and fall. Yum.
The point is this: When making that last tour of campus before The Big Decision: Make sure your child is comfortable with the food program, and there is no better way than to sample the fare before committing.