College visits are supposed to be the fun part of the college application process—the part when parent and child set off on a fun road trip together as the first step in the child's transition from grade school to college and beyond.
But while teens may enjoy the experience of pretending—if only for a few hours (and with mom or dad at their side)—to be real collegians, mom or dad are not always having so much fun.
College visits can, in fact, turn out to be logistical nightmares: Where do we park? Where is the admissions office, and what door are we supposed to use? When are the tours given, and where can we eat lunch? How do we get back on the highway?
But this fall, as the saying goes, "there's an app for that."
Chevy Chase entrepreneurial moms Susan Jones and Elizabeth Van Sant—who, between the two of them, have logged in about 100 college visits with their kids—recently launched Quad2Quad to "take the pain out of the [college visit] process and save the college bound family from having to scour multiple complicated college websites" to plan out their college visits, according to a statement.
"As an educational consultant working with families in the thick of the stressful college application process, I was approached by a family friend, nicknamed 'psycho college mom' (she visited 80 colleges collectively with four children), lamenting the laborious planning of her fourth child's upcoming spate of college visits," Jones told Patch.
"I piped up with 'there must be an easier way,' and voila, Quad2Quad was born," she added.
"As we were technologically challenged, we combed the [tech] world of [Washington, DC,] ... and fortuitously found ourselves some extremely brilliant, inspirational and altruistic college entrepreneurs who lent us quite a helping hand. ... We were determined to use technology to take some of the serious pain out of the [college visit] process," Jones said.
"We believe we have done that by amassing all the critical data that families need to make an efficient and successful visit without having to consult multiple confusing college websites. Quad2Quad is the natural outgrowth of [Jones' and Van Sant's] mutual experience finding that planning college visits took up far too much of our time."
The app isn't expensive. "A free intro app includes five colleges and a sample itinerary in the Boston area. The $4.99 application includes a database of 74 of the most frequently visited colleges and universities in the United States, with another 300 slated to be added over the next year." There's even "an alert system that notifies the user when an admissions office will be closed, or whether the school requires a reservation prior to visiting," Yahoo! Finance reported.
In the future, Quad2Quad "will evolve to include important social networking opportunities for high school students, designed to increase their involvement and interest in the college visiting process," according to a statement.
Van Sant has many years of experience in corporate financial management, the corporate art world and freelance educational consulting. "After raising four children and guiding them through college visits and the application process, she was determined to diminish the hassle associated with applying to college," according to a statement.
Jones has a background as a psychotherapist and educational consultant and "has raised two boys who had divergent responses to college visits" that ranged "from moderate enthusiasm to undisguised boredom. Neither one saw the planning as part of their job description. She was determined to make visits more accessible to students and less laborious for parents," according to a statement.
Jones is no stranger to the entrepreneurial tech world, however. In 1965, just after graduating from Cornell University, she "found [herself] on the ground floor of the first computer dating service, Operation Match ... which emerged from a Harvard senior's thesis on compatibility. This was the infancy of computers. My apartment was headquarters. It was a heady time," Jones told Patch. (Read more about the early days of Operation Match on Harvard Magazine's website.)
"Computers and technology have come a long way from that primitive big box we rented 47 years ago in a dusty office building in Roxbury, MA, for the [cheap] 3 a.m. ... time slot to spit out our precious data," she added.
Explore Jones' and Van Sant's app at www.quad2quad.com.