02/13/2014 11:56 am ET Updated Apr 15, 2014

Choosing a College: The First Search

"Hi Mom. Sorry I'm..."

"Oh Bobby. Thank goodness you're home. I need your help."

"My help? But Mom, it's..."

"I know you're busy, but I can't get the hang of this Christmas gift you gave me. What's it called again?"

"An MP3 player, Mom. And you're just opening it now?"

"Well, you know me and technology--the TV remote is a challenge, which is why your father always holds onto it, I guess."

"Mom, this is our time to have our twenty minute college meeting?"

"Our what?"

"You know, like Dr. O'Connor mentioned in the newsletter? We set up a time to talk about college plans."

"That was in this week's newsletter?"

"Yes, Mom. If we talk to each other about college on a weekly basis, there will be fewer surprises. You'll stay calm, and I'll stay organized."

"Well, I'm the one who needs to stay organized with this... this..."

"MP3 player."

"Right. Well, I found my way to the site where you add songs to it. Do you just set it on top of the keyboard--is that how the songs get loaded?"

"No, Mom. You connect it with this white cord. It has a USB port."

"USB what? Who told you about port? You aren't spending time in Dad's wine cellar, are you?"

"Mom, what about my coll--"

"But now look at this Web site. 85,000 songs, all in one place. How am I supposed to choose what songs to put in?"

"It's kind of like picking a college. Where do you start?"

"And what exactly is this singer doing with that very large yoga ball, and why is it suspended on a chain?"

"That's not a yoga--OK, Mom, listen. What's that song you and Dad always dance to in the living room on your anniversary?"

"You mean 'As' by Stevie Wonder? 'As around the sun the earth knows she's revolving...'"

"Mom. Mom? Come back, Mom."


"OK. So what is it you like about this song?"

"Well, I like the tempo--kind of like jazz, kind of romantic. And it's Stevie Wonder."

"Great. So you go up here, and type in jazz, and you get jazz music."

"Wow. And I can do the same thing with Romantic?"

"Right. And if you type in 'Stevie Wonder', you'll get every song he ever made."

"Really? Let me try that. Wow--I've never heard that Stevie Wonder song."

"Click on the title, and it will play a little of it for you."

"But what if I don't like it?"

"Click it off. It's free."

"Wait. Here's a recording Stevie did with--who is this group?"

"Daft Punk, Mom."


"Daft Punk."

"'Daft'? And people take them seriously?"


"Well, this is easy, now that you've helped me. Too bad picking a college doesn't work this way."

"Yeah, I--hey, wait a second. Could you open the college search Web site?"

"Sure. Pull up a chair."

"OK. So I visited Southeast State and liked it. Let's see. It's labeled as a mid-size college in the Midwest with a good Communications program. So if I click all of those qualities in the online college search..."

"Wow, Bobby. 24 other colleges with the same qualities."

"And if I want to find out more about them..."

"Just click on the name of the school, and the link takes me to the Web site. Let's take a look."

"But Mom, what about your MP3 player?"

"That can wait, Bobby--after all, this is our weekly college meeting. You just need a little background music. 'She's a miss beautiful supreme...'"

"Sing it, Mom."