Today is August 17, 2018 -

Choosing the right college

During vacation last week, I went on a few preliminary college tours with my 11th grade son. Our criteria were simple. We were looking at NYS public universities, west of Albany, with meaningful Jewish life.

At the registration table of one of the schools, I overheard a mother (from Atlanta) ask the admissions officer whether the school has a Hillel. No one at the table could answer her question. I jumped in, and asked her family to join us for our scheduled noon appointment with the Hillel director.

On the one hand, I was happy to hear her asking the question and even happier that she accepted my invitation, but on the other hand, I was confused and upset that this family traveled 1,000 miles to see a school, where this student might spend the next four formative years of her life, without first knowing whether or not there is any Jewish life on the campus.

Let me oversimplify the college search process. Which school will be the best fit for me today and put me in the best position to succeed in the future, based on my current and anticipated interests. Our kids focus on academic programs, school rankings, city size, class size, athletics, dorm life, Greek life, etc. Let’s help them prioritize Jewish life as an important component of their choices.

Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York

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