We know how important your involvement is in your child's education - we also know how difficult it can be to stay on top of all of the important steps in planning and preparing for college.
Below you'll find this month's content - LEARN (info to know), DO (action to take), and TIPS (insights for success)
College Visits: Seeing Is Believing
Ever been on a blind date? That’s is what choosing a college without seeing it is like: all you know is that your friend thinks this the person is nice looking and it has a great reputation. Is that enough?
So why would you take someone else’s opinion on a college’s fit for your student? Visiting a college campus is the absolute best way of finding out if the school is the right fit for your teenager.
When you get to campus, take the time to see things that aren’t on the tour:
- the coffee house
- the dorms
- a class (in action)
- the surrounding area.
Visiting different colleges will give your student the best experiences to make sure they make an informed decision and choose the right school.
While it’s better to visit a college when school is in session, visiting during breaks or exams is certainly acceptable. Your family will get the best feeling for a school when you can see the students in action and meet some of them. They are the best tour guides and, if you approach some of them and inquire about how they came to attend the school and how they chose it, you’ll get real-time reactions that will help your student see things from a different perspective. However, visiting a college anytime is better than not visiting at all.
It is not imperative to visit a college before applying, but it is mandatory to visit before accepting. Seeing truly is believing!
You can visit colleges anytime. (No need to wait until the junior year to try and cram all those visits in last minute.) Log on to a school’s website and schedule a visit (this link is typically found under the “Admissions” tab.) For you and from the college’s perspective, it’s better to make the trip and “official visit” rather than just popping by. Many colleges want to know that you’ve been there and seen the campus before you apply to make sure you’re a serious applicant.
You can customize your tour at many campuses just by asking.
Many college visits include:
- Taking a campus tour
- Stopping by the college admissions office, introducing yourself to the college rep assigned to your school and sign in – they keep track of how many times you have contact with the school (Demonstrated Interest)
- Sitting in on classes: either a freshman class or an upper level major class
- Meeting a professor or two in the area you wish to study. Admissions can set this up for you ahead of time if you ask for it.
- Read the school newspaper and the bulletin boards – what is important to the students?
- Checking out extracurricular activities and athletics – Will you have fun there?In addition to the college and it’s campus, be sure to look around town.Is there everything you need?
- Look for the nearest medical facility. Does it take your insurance provider?
- Where can you get a new pair of gym shoes, a bathing suit, or hair products?
- If you don’t have a car with you on campus, is there transportation to get you to the grocery? The mall? The doctor?
- How will you get to and from home? Ride with others? Have someone come and get you?
Remember, just like dating before you get married...take a bit of time to really know the college. Your teenager will be spending the rest of their life as either a student or an alumnus.
Remember, for many students the Junior year can be the most challenging. Help them create a balanced class schedule for next year – academics, activity participation and athletics – not to mention their social life!
Is your student taking an Advanced Placement class this school year? Talk to their counselor about signing up for the AP test in May - it's a great opportunity to earn inexpensive college credit.
Know of a school that could use additional support with college readiness?
We also offer Student Curriculum to schools and provide Parent Education on College Planning. Additionally, we work with schools and districts to increase the college readiness of their students. Learn more by clicking here.