by Gail Roberson —

Last week, I had dinner with a prospective student and her family. As I asked about her college search, her mom replied that it was a lot like trying on shoes—sometimes a pair just fits. In college shopping, like with shoes, we should give consideration to style, price, durability, and fit. You may find that more than one pair will work, but each offers something different.

Style: just like you wouldn’t run a marathon in heels, you wouldn’t choose a school that doesn’t support your interests. Does the college offer your major? Do they teach courses in the style in which you learn best? Will you have the college experience that you are seeking? Finding a school that will support your goals is an important first step in narrowing your search.

Durability: the quality of an institution is a difficult concept to gauge. We assume that all schools will ‘last,’ but which will guide us to where we need to go? Look at the opportunities and investments at schools. What are the teacher/student ratios and relationships? What is the four-year graduation rate? Ask about internship opportunities and job placement. What safety nets are in place for the transition between high school and college learning? Determine if you will be able to navigate this environment successfully.

LeeRoy the Tiger takes part in spirit rally.
Price: sticker price is not the same as actual price. A more expensive school may offer a ‘red tag’ discount through their financial aid offer that matches the price of a less expensive school. Once you receive the final financial aid awards, do a side-by-side comparison to determine the out of pocket costs for each institution. Make sure that you also consider value—the price beyond the bottom dollar.

Fit: just like with shoes, you need to try it on. No one else can tell you how well a shoe fits and likewise with colleges. Campus visits are crucial. Take a tour of campus, talk with students, meet with faculty, and ask too many questions.

As you finalize your college search, make sure that you’ve fully researched and considered each option. Once you’ve decided, pull on those new shoes and start walking. Remember, the shoes don’t get us to our destination, but if we pick the right pair, we might be able to avoid blisters!

About Gail

Gail Roberson is director of Admissions for Houston Recruitment at Trinity University.
Jane Goodall at Trinity University
by Susie P. Gonzalez --

All teenagers will say the one thing they really hate is a lecture. No young person enjoys hearing about their shortcomings or wrongdoings in a rant from mom or dad. But when they transition from high school to college, a lecture is just what the doctor ordered….the doctor of philosophy, that is.

Trinity University is known for having many brilliant and engaging doctors of philosophy. In fact, 97 percent of Trinity faculty members hold doctoral or terminal degrees. Many are nationally known experts in their fields. To be clear, classroom learning at Trinity is not limited to lectures. There are interactive seminars, laboratory courses, experiential courses, and more.
Trinity University professors
Three Trinity University professors review curriculum proposals. 

Trinity is also known for having captivating great speakers from off campus. This week, the University will welcome a military general fresh from the battlefield to share his views on military policy and practices. Retired Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will deliver the Flora Cameron Lecture on Politics and Public Affairs. His talk will begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 23 in Laurie Auditorium. Best of all, the lecture is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.

Dempsey will not be the only high-profile visitor to campus on March 23. Visual artist Osmievy Ortega will be at Trinity the same night, presenting a lecture at 7 p.m. in the Ruth Taylor Recital Hall about his collection of works described as “portraits” that reflect his connection to the natural world, including animals and humans, from his time living in Havana, Cuba, at the prestigious Instituto Superior de Arte.

Two great speakers in one week, to be sure, but others come to campus regularly to speak about art, science, politics, culture, and a long list of other topics.

Other luminaries who have spoken to Trinity students as well as a broad spectrum of San Antonio community residents and leaders are: former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn, whose visit took place days after the space shuttle Columbia exploded, killing seven astronauts on board; Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, who spoke during a self-imposed exile but predicted her assassination if she returned to her native country; and journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward on the 40th anniversary of the Watergate presidential scandal that launched the modern era of investigative reporting.

Astronomy lecture at Trinity University
Astronomy lecture at Trinity University.

These lectures are far from parental rants. They are opportunities for students and San Antonians to hear informative, mind-expanding ideas directly from visionaries, some of whom are geniuses. Those are the lectures every college student should not only enjoy but embrace.

About Susie

Susie P. Gonzalez, senior manager of public relations at Trinity, can be reached at or @susiegonz.

by David Tuttle –

There is an arc to this process.

Phase One
In many cases, once students make their college decisions official, parents celebrate, beam with pride, and immediately become anxious about sending their babies away. Especially if the child leaving the nest is the first one to do so. The summer after that decision is the worst, actually, for parents. I call it pre-grieving.

From the students’ vantage point, they have their own approach and may start "soiling the nest," as a colleague of mine used to call it. They are subconsciously making it easier for you to say goodbye by being rebellious.

Once the student is dropped off, gets in the swing of things, and the parents realize things will be okay, phase two kicks in.

Phase Two
That phase is about welcoming back home an emerging and independent adult during spring, summer, and winter breaks. And it isn't always easy.

Checking activity schedules at the Student Involvement Fair

In my experience with students, they are like awkward baby giraffes. They want to walk on their own, but still need some support. Indeed, I often coach students that they can't have their cake (your financial backing) and eat it too (ignoring family rules and expectations). Just know that they DO appreciate you, but they are striking out on their own. It takes some adjusting especially during trips home during their first year or two.

Here are some things you can expect and how to handle it:

1. They are immersed in new and exciting experiences and meeting dynamic and diverse people.

What they need: They want you to listen and ask them non-prying questions. For years they listened to your stories about Uncle Fred and where you might seat your guests for Easter dinner. The people they find fascinating may not matter to you, but show interest or fake it.

2. When they are not napping, on YouTube, going on late-night taco runs, streaming "Fuller House," and going to parties, they are REALLY busy.

What they need: Sure, they probably don't work as hard as you. But there is emotional energy being expended as they navigate really difficult classes, plenty of homework, and the stress of independence. It can be emotionally exhausting for their developing brains and bodies. Trust them. College is hard, for the most part.

3. They don't care about grades, man. They are learning about life and relationships and themselves.

What they need: They are partially correct, they are learning a lot. But you can remind them that grades are a reflection of that learning. And they are the ticket moving forward, to the next semester, to the job and career, and graduate programs. It's okay to have expectations; you are the parents. Say your peace, make them repeat it, and stop. Know they are still adjusting and DON'T want a lecture.

Trinity University students hear a fitness presentation at the Bell Center.

4. They want to share their new lives with their friends, compare experiences, and re-connect with people they can relate to.

What you can do: Let them. They love you and will love you more as they become juniors and seniors and beyond. It isn't personal. They just aren't that into you. Plan a meal or family time and then let them set their schedule.

5. They don't want rules. Trust me, they don't want them on campus, either.

What you can do: First, know that they are probably out really late here, so don't be surprised by how late they go out. The difference is at home they might be driving late and with crazies on the road. Work out something that is fair to them and you. Second, when they get home they are often long-term tired. Expect them to sleep and be worthless in terms of chores. Finally, given all that, it is still okay to set expectations. Find a better way to say "my house, my rules." Let them know you are counting on them for a few (specific) things.

Phase Three
After they graduate from college, the next challenge will be keeping them from moving back in. It is part of the arc. Be prepared.

About David

David M. Tuttle is an associate vice president and Dean of Students at Trinity University. You can read his blog, The Dean's List, here.

Trinity University alumni Carlos '14 and Robert '81 Anchondo

by Robert Anchondo ’81 —

Trinity University has a special place in our family. My brother and I are both Trinity graduates, and I also taught ROTC at Trinity for three years in the early 1980s. When considering universities, my wife and I encouraged our four children to visit college campuses. My third child Carlos visited Trinity knowing that I had strong ties to the school.

Our son was accepted to several out of state universities, but ultimately, he chose Trinity due to its excellent undergraduate reputation. Naturally, I advocated for Trinity because I had experienced firsthand the high caliber of the faculty and the student body. Additionally, my brother Jorge and I thought Trinity was a good fit for Carlos.

When Carlos decided to attend Trinity, we were delighted! He would be an hour and a half away from our Central Texas home, and he would be receiving a first rate education. During a parent weekend, we were impressed with the small student to professor ratio, which is 9:1. I had an opportunity to visit some of the classes where I had sat as a student myself. In particular, I enjoyed attending Dr. Donald Clark’s Chinese History class. After re-visiting campus, I could tell that Carlos was in good hands.

Miller Fountain at Trinity University with mountain laurels
Fragrant mountain laurel bloom next to Miller Fountain on the Trinity campus.

Visiting Trinity University 25 years later, I was impressed by the new buildings and continuing growth throughout the campus. One thing that had not changed was the wonderful fragrance of the mountain laurels that bloom in March. While Trinity University has made significant modern improvements, it is still the friendly, vibrant, small community that I remember from years ago.

About Robert

Robert Anchondo is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. He now teaches English as a Second Language and history at Lockhart Junior High in Lockhart, Texas, where he lives with his wife Joan. Robert earned a master’s degree in history from Trinity in 1981. His son, Carlos, graduated from Trinity in 2014 and is currently a writer and editor in the Office of University Marketing and Communications.

Trinity University chocolate festival
by Leslie Wan –

No matter how prepared for college or resourceful you feel your student is, you are going to get calls. These will cause you stress if you don't understand in advance, that these too shall pass.

The First Call
Often the first call will be lamenting that they haven't made friends or are homesick. Both of those can be because they miss the family and the routine of the family.

There was comfort in friends they had spent years with and making new ones is an effort. Making new friends requires them to rediscover who they are and what their interests are NOW, instead of the comfortable ebb and flow of friends and activities of the past. In truth, both of these are an integral part of a process that will follow them throughout their lives and career. What better time to experience this than when surrounded by a cadre of new students undergoing the same dilemma?

The Next Call
This could be that the food is not edible or is distasteful. Remember, our children are born with dramatic tendencies and haven't foraged for food in our homes. This is the age old complaint of "There is nothing to eat in this house" on a grander scale. Oh, to be back at home where food just appeared and they didn't really have to think about it. Healthy eating? Really? I now have to put that into my thought process? You get the picture here. Usually this is more about starving in a sea of possibilities. It takes energy and planning to maneuver through.

Just wait until you live in your own apartment, I thought. Once she did, my daughter missed that dining hall!
Students at Trinity University chocolate festival
Trinity University students enjoy the annual Chocolate Festival.

More Calls
Finally you may hear "man, the work is hard!" "Yes, my dear daughter (I said), it is tough, but you are tougher!" There may be many of these calls, and they may be sprinkled in with some of the funniest calls you will ever hear. There might be moments when you are absolutely certain that these times will be the best first steps in many independent steps to come.

Don't panic because in as short a time as two days, most of these calls will be forgotten and your child will have begun to figure it out.

You may still want to send them a care package now and again because it makes YOU feel better, but not because they are hungry in a dining hall of plenty.

About Leslie
As a mother, Leslie embraced her passion of working with and for children and supporting her daughter's academic endeavors. She spent her “free time” on a scholarship board, charitable speaking events, and working with a food pantry. To enjoy quality time and teach the value of community service to her then-teenaged daughter, they volunteered at a school for special needs children. A 2010 graduate from Trinity, daughter Christina now works as a university student administration professional, and Leslie continues to pursue special needs work and her passion for personal/professional writing and public speaking. She writes a blog (, and speaks and volunteers in support of the special needs community in Jamaica.