As a blogger, networker and social media fan, I am occasionally invited to things that I probably have no business going to.  In the past, I have been given a sneak preview of Turtle Back Zoo’s Aquarium and have been treated to an amazing wine tasting of Palmaz wine, at the Wilshire Grand, actually presented by members of the Palmaz family.  Please note that my knowledge of marine life and – particularly – my knowledge of wine – is extremely limited.

My knowledge of cars rivals my knowledge of wine.

But, if you’ve read this blog in the past, or watched my videos or seen my “Fit, Not Reach” workshops, you probably know that I often compare choosing a college to choosing an automobile.  I’ve mentioned my amazement that families who fully understand that they can’t fit a family of 7 into a Lamborghini have no problem pushing their child to choose a fancy name college that doesn’t fit their needs simply because it’s a fancy name.

So, when I had the opportunity to test drive the new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle earlier this month, I jumped at the chance.  Douglas Auto Group (Summit, NJ) has a new social media manager – Patrick Nash – and he offered me a chance to test drive any car I wanted.  I chose the 2012 VW Beetle – redesigned this year, for only the 2nd time in this legendary car’s long history.  I found the 2012 Beetle to offer a great ride, a cool look and more room that I expected.  And sufficient fodder to provide you with:

4  Ways Test Driving a 2012 Beetle is Like Choosing a College

  • TRADITION VS. RELEVANCY:  Are your colleges of choice selling the stimulation of a great liberal arts curriculum to assist you in your growth as a person and professional?  Or are they selling you how great they are as preparation for your career?  Or both?  Volkswagen has – IMHO – done a great job of holding tradition (and – to some extent – restoring it) while creating a car for 2012.  Are the colleges you are looking at providing you a strong, traditional curriculum and enhancing it with modern technology and career preparation tools?  Is the college you’re looking at the ‘new’ Beetle of 1998-2011 or the 2012 version of the Beetle?  (Or maybe they are still ‘the original’?)
  • GOING “CO-ED“: No more vases on the dash.  VW wants to get the word out that the Beetle has been remade and given a shot of testosterone while still maintaining its core “Beetle-ness”, as it were.  The ‘new’ Beetle had a customer base that was 60% female.  The test drives for 2012 are running 60% male.  The idea for VW is to grow their male customer base without losing their female audience.  What about your colleges of choice?  55% of college students are female.  At the same time, there are fewer and fewer Women’s Colleges each year as many become co-educational.  Are you looking at a school that has a male/female ratio that is 20/80 or 30/70 or even 70/30?  How are they responding to those percentages?  Are they?  Maybe they seen it as an opportunity to grow and diversify, or maybe they see it as part of what makes them special.
  • IT IS ‘YOURS’?: The 2012 Beetle has an option for you to choose a “second skin” to encase the car and make it yours.  They have custom nickname badges, accessory wheels, a unique key fob and more – all available to let you customize your car and make it ‘yours’.  Do your colleges of choice offer their own ‘second skin’? What choices do you have in terms of course selection, internships, residence halls, meal plans, payment plans, clubs and organizations?  And how much does that flexibility matter to you?  It could be a make or break option for you or it might be completely irrelevant.
  • CHECK THE TRUNK: The 2012 Beetle has what I will call an “open mouth” trunk.  In both appearance and in actuality, it has much more trunk space than its immediate predecessor.  It’s not a big deal, but it is.  If you are a college student – for instance – this Beetle provides much more potential to accommodate your ‘stuff’ than the prior version of the Beetle.  Check the trunk on your colleges of choice.  There are issues that may be very important to you (i.e. – handicapped parking, vegan meals, level of counseling services) that won’t be covered on pages 1-10 of the admissions viewbook.

Make sure you ‘check the trunk’ during your college search to see that there is sufficient room to accommodate all of your ‘stuff’.  Look at whether they are still selling you the ‘original’ model of their college, the ‘new’ version or the 2012 version.  And can you make it your own?  

Douglas VW can be found on Twitter at @DouglasVW.  If you happen to be near by their Summit location, do stop by, say ‘hi’ to Patrick and test drive a 2012 Beetle!

As always, I welcome your comments and questions.  Please feel free to email me at info@cc4therestofus.com, call or text me at 908-403-3819, join me on Facebook on “College Counseling for the Rest of Usand join me on Twitter at @MichaelCCR.   And now on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/CCRMichael?feature=mhee.

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