No Reason to Look Any Place Else

From Dan Smith, editor of Valley Business FRONTfor First College Visit, a series of first college visit stories by business professionals sponsored by SmartCollegeVisit.

Son and father Experience with college registration – or with college in general – is not something I'm steeped in. I went to Western Carolina to play football in the late summer of 1965 and before I even registered for class, I was on the way home with a busted knee and a broken heart. Never got to a class. Barely toured the campus because our days were consumed with trying to kill each other. A year later, I registered at UNC Asheville and promptly flunked out.

More than 25 years later as the father of a high school senior, I drove my son to Knoxville, Tennessee to take a look at the University of Tennessee. UT had always been a family favorite. My father, who was a pretty good football player at Virginia Tech in the 1930s, always wanted to go to UT, but his dad had said, "It'll be VPI or nowhere." Seems the old man, who had no schooling, but was rich from construction, knew somebody with a son at Tech.

Dad put in his time, but never really cared much for his alma mater. My brother played quarterback at UT and we had a bit of a legacy in that. When my son and I entered campus, I noted some activity at the cavernous 107,000-seat football stadium, so we parked and walked over.

As we entered the stadium, my son's eyes grew to the size of volleyballs. "This is it," he said firmly. "I'm going here. No reason to even look anywhere else." Good thing it was, too. UT, even with out of state tuition, was far cheaper than Virginia Tech or Virginia for in-state students and my son got a solid, stable degree in physics and works in engineering for a large, international company these days.

And he remains orange in his blood.


Dan Smith is the editor of Valley Business FRONT magazine.


College visits, visits to campus, planning college visitsFirst College Visit on Handshake 2.0, a series of first college visit stories by business professionals, is sponsored by SmartCollegeVisit, a college visit portal with tools and resources for planning campus visit travelcollege visit advice from parents to parents, not-to-miss college campus sites, and more. You're invited to subscribe to SmartCollegeVisit updates, to follow SmartCollegeVisit on Twitter, and to become a fan of SmartCollegeVisit on Facebook.

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  1. Dan, I was so excited to read your First College Visit story. It’s got heart and I love that.
    Thank you for sharing.


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