The Franks and the other parents and students with whom I spoke were also keen to the fact that the Web site is the college putting its best foot forward and presenting itself through its own rose-colored glasses.
Before they settle on a school, the Franks plan to visit the campus, preferably when classes are in session, as well as continue their research on-line with help from Horace Mann’s college counselor, speak with current and former students, and peruse the several college guidebooks they have already purchased or checked out of the local library.
In those cases in which cost or infirmity may prevent a family from visiting a college in person, the Web may also serve as an effective alternative to being there. The relative infancy of Internet technology makes it hard to predict just how widespread this medium will become and whether it will ever replace live visits to colleges by prospective students.
However, given the explosive growth and appeal of the Internet as a means of conducting background research on virtually everything, we may expect to see more families making their first visit to schools on-line.