I fondly recall my first college tour as a junior in high school. My mom and I flew up to Washington state to visit what I thought was my No. 1 choice at the time, the University of Washington. I left Seattle in tears, feeling overwhelmed by the simple walk across the vast campus.
Thankfully, we included Oregon on this visit. I fell in love with Oregon State and the small town of Corvallis; the students were so friendly and down to Earth, not to mention the boy I was dating at the time lived about 30 minutes from there. Washington State was also a pleasant surprise, but one student's story about the black ice in winter entirely turned me off to the place. I pictured my Datsun 280ZX doing doughnuts on the highway, and that was it for me. It also rained for five days straight as we traveled from Seattle to Pullman to Portland and Eugene — and I mean rained.