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We received a call from an ambitious mother. She asked which vacation would be best for her daughter’s college applications. It was a bit of an unusual query. Consequently, after some open-ended questions, we learned the mother read an article touting the college admission benefits of travel. Unfortunately, she could not recall the article except to say she read it “a week or so ago.”

We think we found the article on the website of a popular newspaper in the Northeast. If we did, it discusses the benefits to travel. It also heavily cites a survey of teachers that was funded by a group in the travel industry. Perhaps it’s no surprise the respondents believed travel has “a very positive impact on students’ personal development.” Furthermore, toward the end of the article was ‘the kicker.’ A note stating 42% of the teachers believed applicants with international travel experience were “more attractive to college admission recruiters.”

Let’s assume we uncovered the same article the caller read. If so, just because less than half the teachers surveyed believe something makes applicants more attractive to colleges, doesn’t mean it’s true. In fact, we sometimes dial back international travel. Why? Because it usually makes it harder for the typical admissions officer from a working class background to relate to the applicant. Consequently, it can scream of entitlement.

To summarize our views on travel, if you can afford to travel with your children, we think that’s great. We wholeheartedly agree that travel experiences can enhance education. International travel is not necessarily the best investment to enhance your children’s college admission chances.

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