Letter from the Publisher

College Bound

Caroline, our oldest child, is leaving for college in a few days. I understand this is a routine rite of passage, but when your first kid leaves the nest, it’s a big deal. As we help her pack, I’ve been reflecting on the process, the attributes she wanted in a school and how she arrived at her decision.

My wife is from Chicago and I’m from Philly, which must have influenced Caroline’s decision to focus on northern and midwestern universities (we drew the line at Colorado). She decided early on that she didn’t want to attend a Virginia school—sorry Mom and Dad—or anyplace in the South. Her checklist ultimately included the following: a) a big state school that everyone’s heard of; b) with all the stuff (sports, activities, Greek life, etc.); c) in a cool, progressive town; d) with an attractive campus that’s integrated into the town; e) preferably on or close to a body of water; and f) with a strong environmental science program (Yay! Academics made the list!).
While doing her research, Caroline stumbled across a chart on Barstool Sports that she found persuasive. The y-axis ranked academics and the x-axis rated the social scene. Way out on the far-right side of the chart were two schools that led in both categories: Tulane University and the University of Wisconsin. Since the South and private schools were off her list, you guessed it: Caroline is headed to Madison. It’s a great school, and we’re proud of her. Go, Badgers!

Although our daughter is a strong student and involved in many activities, she also had a lot of help along the way. We provided her with a test-prep tutor, an essay coach and a college counselor. These resources made her a stronger candidate, helped her think through her options, and charted out the process and important deadlines.

Unfortunately, many students don’t have the same advantages or level of support as Caroline. One of our feature stories, “Closing the Gap,” by Adrienne Wichard-Edds, explores the opportunity gap between white students and students of color here in Arlington. Sadly, disadvantages exist. They are alive and well, and a lot of work still needs to be done.

Caroline and her closest friends will be scattered across the country this fall, attending schools in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Memphis, Austin, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. However, right here in Arlington, we’re experiencing a dramatic transformation in higher education, specifically at the graduate level and largely fueled by the arrival of Amazon’s HQ2 and the technology ecosystem emerging around it. Our cover story, “College Town,” by Tamara Lytle, examines the investments and innovative changes underway at Marymount University, George Mason’s Institute for Digital InnovAtion (IDIA), Virginia Tech’s soon-to-be-built Innovation Campus and others. It’s an exciting time to be in Arlington.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point you to the “College Bound” chart on page xx, which shows where the class of 2021 applied to college and where they were accepted. We’re thrilled to add Arlington Tech and the Career Center to this year’s data.

I hope you find our September/October issue informative and enjoyable. Thank you for reading it and supporting the magazine. As always, we would love to hear from you. I can be reached at greg.hamilton@arlingtonmagazine.com. Story ideas and letters to the editor should be directed to jenny.sullivan@arlingtonmagazine.com. Hope you had a terrific summer.

Greg Hamilton, Publisher