Starting at an early age, I stressed the importance of doing well in school so that our sons would have
increased choices when it came time to go to college.  From what my friends told me, the college search
process can be quite stressful even without food allergies.  I found that adding food allergies to the
equation, required some extra planning.  
Fortunately for me, I had befriended the mother of an older child with food allergies, way back when my
oldest was in kindergarten.  When it was time for us to plan for college, she had some very useful advice.  I
struggled with the "distance" question. " He's an independent free spirit with lots of curiosity.  He's
responsible.  He's mature.  I don't want to stifle him.  How far should I let him go?"  After talking to Angie at
the annual high school open house, I decided to draw a 90 mile radius around our house.  Schools that
required time in the air were still on the list "in case" we decided in the end that they were a better fit.  We
kept in mind food labeling was not as good as it is now, most manufacturers didn't worry about
cross-contamination, and eating in restaurants seemed like an unrealistic expectation.

Back in 1999, Angie found the 9 hour car ride between her and her daughter's food allergies made the
college living experience more complicated than it needed to be.  Who could have predicted that her list of
allergies would increase while she was away?  Mid-semester, the original plan to live in the dorm and eat in
the dining hall had to be reworked.   Without a private kitchen to cook for herself, she had to temporarily
resort to cereal as the mainstay of her diet.   Under pressure, Angie and her daughter were able to secure an
apartment for the following semester.  Still, the trips to the emergency room were no less agonizing from 400
miles away.

Although the story had a happy ending, Angie advised me to keep him relatively close to home, but to give
him his space by staying away unless invited.  So, we started before  junior year and explored the schools
within the circle via  Not unlike most high school students, he didn't have a focus on
"what he wanted to be" when he grew up.  After visiting almost a dozen schools, we decided that a fairly
large university setting would provide him the most degree options as he explored his choices.  Universities
seemed to have colleges of business, communications, etc. which smaller schools didn't seem to have.   
Even at that, I wasn't willing to take some of the smaller schools off of the list. They seemed more cozy and
not everyone can be comfortable in the big university environment

At each information session and tour, we would try to get a feel for the dining hall, living accommodations
and social activities.  I took a lot of notes, and surmised that any school with a Hillel dining hall might be a
plus.  We put a huge question mark next to one rural school where visiting the local ice cream shoppe was a
favorite amongst the undergrads.

In the end, he applied to 9 schools and waited for the replies.  I tried to let Bud make his decision
independently of the food allergy information I was gathering.  I tried not to influence his decision since I
truly did not know what would be the best overall experience for him.  I didn't want his food allergies to
weigh too heavily on his final choice.  Before the May 1st deadline, he announced his pick was Boston
University.  Immediately, I went into high gear with the residential housing office and the special needs
office.  They required a deposit before researching specific housing options for him.  The process also
required detailed paper work  from our allergist.  Through the formal housing process, Bud requested a
single dorm room, so that he could handle his food allergies.  One advantage to Boston University is that it
owns a lot of housing. In the end, one of the BU physicians reviewing his case recommended a single
on-campus apartment for him. This would allow him to prepare his meals and not be concerned with the
dining hall.

The next hurdle would be to locate an actual unit for him.  Similar to many universities and colleges, BU
holds a housing lottery during the spring semester to determine housing for the following fall.  The
apartments are the first to dry up when the seniors make their lottery picks.  It was only two weeks before
school and my fingernails were very short when they identified his domicile.  As a large institution, it's
necessary for the residences to open almost a full week before classes start, so we had a chance to clean
the place before the freshmen arrived.  I called the
Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network to learn that
Formula 409 and Lysol wipes were known to remove peanut oil residue.  That's all we needed to know to get
the place in shape.
Food Allergies To Go Terms and ConditionsContact a Mom with 22 Years of  Food Allergy Experience
Food Allergies To Go HomepageOur Food Allergy Journey


Food Allergy Friendly Restaurants, Food Allergies 22 Years