Applying to College? Beware of Social Media


Published:

This summer, in a well-publicized story that made international news, Harvard University rescinded offers of admission to more than 10 students who posted obscene, sexually explicit and racist memes in a private Facebook group. This offshoot of another online Facebook page for students admitted to the university’s class of 2021 changed names several times and, at one point, was titled “Offensive memes for horny bourgeois teens.”

One would think students who won acceptance from a pool of candidates with near-perfect SAT scores and impeccable high school transcripts would be wise enough to steer clear of such risky behavior. Yet, amazingly, a number of accepted Harvard University students did the exact same thing in 2016, when members of the class of 2020 exchanged similarly themed messages on an app called GroupMe, but ultimately escaped discipline.

Online Snooping by Admission Offices

The majority of college admissions officers rarely, if ever, Google applicants’ names, rifle through Facebook accounts, pore over archived tweets or analyze selfies on Instagram for artistic value. For some officers, it’s a moral issue; your student’s social media should be his or her private space. For others, stalking forgotten social media pages for evidence of middle school misdeeds would be a wasteful use of precious time.

The practice of online snooping, however, has trended upward over the last 10 years. In 2008, Kaplan reported that only 10 percent of admissions officers bothered looking at an applicant’s social media pages; but in 2017, that number rose to 35 percent. A similar number of admissions officers report at least Googling an applicant to glean any relevant information — positive or negative. A staggering 42 percent of those surveyed, however, reported ultimately finding something that negatively impacted their view of an applicant.

Digital Footprints

As an exercise, Google yourself and see what comes up. Scroll into the deep recesses of your long abandoned ask.fm pages and refresh your memory of questionable items you may have posted over the past 10 years for the entire world to view. Dig far back through your Facebook page. Were you tagged doing something inappropriate in a group photo you barely even remember being taken?

Then ask your child to do the same. He doesn’t have to shut down his entire online life — he just needs to make sure nothing in cyberspace will cause him to make a poor first impression on admission officers, who may frown upon the contents of his Spring Break 2017 Facebook album. Even if the majority of schools never peer into your child’s online life, there is simply no good reason to risk jeopardizing his chances of admission for the sake of maintaining that risqué Instagram page.

Social Media as an Advantage

College and university department administrators have expanded their own use of social networking in recent years, utilizing social media such as Facebook and Twitter to help connect with potential applicants. Interacting with schools through social media can prove informative and show admissions offices that your child is seriously considering their institution. “Following” a school can be an excellent way to demonstrate interest virtually, without the cost and effort of a campus visit (although this is still recommended).

The Bottom Line

Pass this advice on to your child:

Do not post anything online (or keep anything active online during the admissions process) that you do not feel represents your best self.
Stalk your own digital presence and make sure nothing inappropriate, offensive or otherwise undesirable pops up. If it does, take it down.

While most students’ errors in cyber-judgment won’t land them on the front page of The New York Times, thousands of applicants each year will quietly, and perhaps without ever being told, lose their chance at being admitted to a top-choice college because of a simple internet search. It only takes a minimal amount of effort and common sense to ensure that your child is not among them.

Dave Bergman, Ed.D., is a co-founder of College Transitions, a team of college planning experts committed to guiding families through the college admissions process. He is also a co-author of “The Enlightened College Applicant: A New Approach to the Search and Admissions Process.” Learn more at collegetransitions.com.

 

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College Transitions

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July 2018

Run Club meets every Sunday at 8 a.m. in Midtown Raleigh or Wake Forest. Stroller friendly; children invited. 

Cost: $10/run or $100/annual pass

Where:
Optimist Park Community Center/Greenways
5900 Whittier Drive
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: FIT4MOM
Telephone: 919-348-0472
Contact Name: Missy Currin
Website »

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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

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Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  17560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Cost: $7 ages 1 and older.

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Durham's cookout experience features some of the best food trucks in the Triangle, face painting, games, craft vendors and more. Pets welcome.

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Central Park
501 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Website »

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Enjoy activities inspired by Eric Carle's popular book, "The Grouchy Ladybug." Ages are 4-9.

Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Library, Hillsborough Library, Kidzu
900 Old Fayetteville Road
Inside McDougle Middle School
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Sponsor: Orange County Library
Telephone: 191-996-93006
Contact Name: Jody Smith
Website »

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Children make treasured memories while increasing their knowledge of plants and animals. Ages 7-10. Register online.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

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Enjoy a complimentary 20-minute review of your child's current IEP for Section 504 Plan. Call 919-942-1430 to register.  When you call, state that you are requesting an appointment...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Gahagan Law Firm, PLLC
3326 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd
Suite 210-C
Durham, NC  27707
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Sponsor: The Gahagan Law Firm, PLLC
Telephone: 919-942-1430
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Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Website »

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At the Main Library in Hillsborough, Puppet Show Inc. presents a re-telling of Eric Carle’s classic book, “The Grouchy Ladybug.” A make and take craft will follow the show. Ages 4...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Public Library
137 W. Margaret Lane
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
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Sunday, July 22; 2:00–3:00 p.m. Marshes, bogs, and swamps have one thing in common - they are all wetlands! Build a model wetland in a hands-on science experiment. Explore the important role...

Cost: $1/Person

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
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This epic musical is about wishes, family and the consequences of the choices that we make. A childless baker and his wife endeavor to lift their family curse by journeying into the woods,...

Cost: $15/person

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Website »

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Enjoy a family-friendly movie. See the website for the movie title. Showings at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Website »

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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Website »

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Did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month? Create a craft celebrating the treat that helps us beat the summer heat! We will bring the materials if you bring the imagination! For all ages...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

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The Art Therapy Institute has been working in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro City Schools with the Exceptional Children's Program for the past ten years. Enjoy a summer art therapy groups in June and...

Cost: $20 per session

Where:
Art Therapy Institute of NC
200 N Greensboro St. Suite D-6 (2nd Floor Carr Mill Mall)
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Telephone: 919-381-6068
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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Meet a favorite princess or superhero from 11 a.m.-noon and 1-2 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Website »

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Enjoy the Fun Caravan, a mobile recreation program equipped with a host of fun activities for ages 12 and younger. Enjoy games, arts and crafts, obstacle courses and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Edgemont Park
205 S. Elm St.
Durham, NC
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Enjoy "Whale in a Fishbowl" by Troy Howell and Richard Jones. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
760 S.E. Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Website »

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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a Build-A-Bear activity, storytime, games and painting from 11 a.m.-noon and 1-2 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Website »

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Three new books by North Carolina authors explore friendship and family, feature kids flying and eating flying bugs, and discover what is worth fighting for. This panel of middle grade...

Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Website »

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Join us at Chatham Marketplace in Pittsboro every Thursday at 10 a.m. for a casual storytime on the porch or even out in the yard. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Chatham Marketplace
480 Hillsboro St.
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Sponsor: Chatham Marketplace
Telephone: 919-542-2643
Contact Name: Craig Kolman
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Meet a staff member at the information desk and follow your guide outside to the garden exhibit or into one of the museum galleries. Look around and listen to a history-related story. 

Cost: Free

Where:
N.C. Museum of History
5 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

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Enjoy giant board games, free-play areas and special activities for all ages. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Park
319 S. Academy St.
Cary, NC  27511
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Enjoy a slice of fresh watermelon and watch the weigh-in of watermelons vying for top prize in the market's Largest Watermelon Contest.

Cost: Free

Where:
State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Website »

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Ages 7-12 enjoy fashion and design activities from 11 a.m.-noon.; ages 13-18 enjoy the same activities from 1-2 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a family-friendly movie, "Paddington 2," and a slice or two of pizza. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px 'Times New Roman'; color: #ffffff;...

Cost: $5/person. Free for ages 2 and younger

Where:
The Halle Cultural Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
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Website »

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Kids hike, make projects and engage in nature activities. Ages 5-8. Register online.

Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

A wonderfully kid-paced hour featuring music, play and dancing with toddler stars singing on the mic at Cotton's gently amplified & participatory music show. Children delight in...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Pump It Up Raleigh
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
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Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
Website »

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Experience the the excitement of wheelchair basketball in preparations for August Madness. Whether your team is practicing for August Madness or you're looking for a fun Friday activity, all...

Cost: Free

Where:
American Tobacco Campus YMCA 'Cage' Court
304 Blackwell St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Bridge II Sports
Telephone: 18668802742 x12
Contact Name: Katharine Doyle
Website »

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Enjoy live music. Take a blanket or lawn chairs. Pets and alcohol not permitted.

Cost: Free

Where:
Apex Historic Depot
220 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The Halle Cultural Arts Center
Telephone: (919) 249-1120
Website »

More information

See the musical about rock star and teen idol Conrad Birdie. After he is drafted into the army, his manager Albert Peterson faces financial ruin. Desperate for a publicity stunt big...

Cost: $12/adult, $6 ages 18 and younger

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second St.
Clayton, NC  27520
View map »


Sponsor: CYT
Telephone: 919-553-1737
Contact Name: CYT Staff
Website »

More information

This epic musical is about wishes, family and the consequences of the choices that we make. A childless baker and his wife endeavor to lift their family curse by journeying into the woods,...

Cost: $15/person

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Friday, July 27; 8:00–9:00 p.m. On any given summer night, hundreds of moths are on the wing in North Carolina. A park naturalist will attempt to attract as many as possible using light and a...

Cost: $1/Person

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Join us on the playfield at Harris Lake County Park for some really cool night sky viewing through telescopes and binoculars. If you are willing to stay late and the weather cooperates, we will be...

Cost: $1 per person

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New HIll, NC  27562
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
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Learn how worms turn food waste into nutritious soil for the garden. View different worms, play worm games, and learn how to keep food waste from the landfill. Ages 8-15. Choose...

Cost: $6/child

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Park
950 Peterson St.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-2761
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
Website »

More information

Kids ages 6-14 launch their very own start-up business at a one-day pop-up market. This event is held in conjunction to the monthly Downtown Garner Pop-Up Market.

Cost: Free

Where:
Garner Recreational Park
221 E. Garner Rd.
Garner, NC  27529
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Website »

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Ages 7-16 with an interest in singing, dancing and musical theatre can audtion for Lythgoe Family Productions' special holiday show taking place in Raleigh...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crabtree Valley Mall
4325 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Website »

More information

Take the family to enjoy a day of hands-on learning. Discover life on a 19th-century farm and play historic games, from parlor games to town ball, and make a toy of your own.

Cost: Free

Where:
Duke Homestead
2828 Duke Homestead Rd.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a special storytime to preview the upcoming children's shows from the Raleigh Theatre created by Matthew Hager. During August, Aggregate Theatre Company presents four shows...

Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Website »

More information

Children's booksellers read their favorite picture books. All ages.

Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Website »

More information

Tech-savvy Charlotte is confused when she receives a new toy -- a doll! Once she finds the hidden battery pack, things get interesting. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a DJ, games, ice cream and train rides. See more than 35 vintage pre-1928 automobiles on display from 10 a.m.-noon. Purchase tickets online for 12:15 p.m., 1:45 p.m. or 3 p.m. train...

Cost: $12-$14/person

Where:
New Hope Valley Railway
3900 Bonsal Rd.
New Hill, NC  27562
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Website »

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Aggregate Theatre Company joins Read with Me for a special edition storytime. In preview of Aggregate's upcoming children's theatre series, actors will perform songs from the new...

Cost: Free

Where:
Read with Me
111 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: Aggregate Theatre Company
Contact Name: Matthew Hager
Website »

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View the main power drive and milling machinery while exploring the mill's history and aspects of its preservation. All ages. Registration encouraged online; tickets available inside...

Cost: $5/adult, $3/ ages 7-16. Free for ages 6 and younger.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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Explore the historic heart of downtown Raleigh on a walking tour of Fayetteville Street. Tours highlight the people, places, architecture and political movements that have shaped...

Cost: Adults (18+) $10; Youth (7-17) $4; Children (6 & under) Free.

Where:
City of Raleigh Museum
220 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

See the musical about rock star and teen idol Conrad Birdie. After he is drafted into the army, his manager Albert Peterson faces financial ruin. Desperate for a publicity stunt big...

Cost: $12/adult, $6 ages 18 and younger

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second St.
Clayton, NC  27520
View map »


Sponsor: CYT
Telephone: 919-553-1737
Contact Name: CYT Staff
Website »

More information

Fathers and daughters enjoy an afternoon of dancing, photo opportunities with Princesses and goodies to eat. Your favorite Princesses will be there! The cost is $25 which includes entry for both...

Cost: $25 for first child; $15 each additional child

Where:
The Mill Room at The Factory
1839 S. Main Street
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Sponsor: Mouse Dreams Foundation
Contact Name: Scott Cooper
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Spend the night under the stars at the DPAC. Enjoy an exciting Bulls baseball game followed by a sleepover on the famous DBAP outfield. Take part in a pre-game parade, enjoy dinner and...

Cost: $22.20

Where:
Durham Bulls Athletic Park
Durham, NC  27701


Website »

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Enjoy live music. Take a blanket or lawn chair. Pets and alcohol not permitted.

Cost: Free

Where:
Apex Nature Park Amphitheatre
2600 Evans Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The Halle Cultural Arts Center
Telephone: (919) 249-1120
Website »

More information

This epic musical is about wishes, family and the consequences of the choices that we make. A childless baker and his wife endeavor to lift their family curse by journeying into the woods,...

Cost: $15/person

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Celebrate National Moth Week and learning about these beautiful and under-rated insects and their fascinating adaptations. Head outside to see who’s come to visit the baits and black lights....

Cost: $7/member, $8/nonmember

Where:
North Carolina Botanical Garden
100 Old Mason Farm Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27517
View map »


Sponsor: North Carolina Botanical Garden
Telephone: 919-537-3770
Contact Name: Elisha Taylor
Website »

More information

Take the family to watch a family-friendly movie on the farm. During the movie, take turns holding the farm's baby goats. Concessions available. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Spring Haven Farm
5306 Homer Ruffin Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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