Although this advice could be used all year long, many high school juniors will be visiting college campuses during Spring break. Keep these ideas in mind:
The Basics; Tried and true advice:
- Officially record your visit by logging in at the admissions office. This is usually associated with the official information session. A visit without a record will NOT be recognized.
- Take Pictures to document the college tour.
- Take notes immediately after each visit as a family. If you are visiting similar schools, their pitches may be difficult to differentiate, and they will blend together after you leave. By sharing notes, the different things your family may have heard or seen will have be more meaningful.
- Make sure you have enough quality time at each school to make an educated decision. Most schools have both a one hour information session and a one hour tour. Find out when the last sessions or tours are; if you get to the college in the afternoon, you may only have time for one. Plan your trip well in advance.
- Try not to visit while students are taking final exams.
- Pick up a student newspaper. It might highlight issues on campus that are not mentioned in the info session or admissions office.
Tip #1 – Get off the tour and talk to some real students
A tour guide can make or break your student’s feelings about the school. A less than enthusiastic guide or one to whom your student does not relate, can totally turn them off. If you can talk to students off the guided tour, you will get a genuine perspective of the school that hasn’t been “coached” by the admissions office. Where do you find these off-the-tour students? Plan to eat in the dining hall and visit the student center. Have your student contact academic departments in advance and, if possible, sit-in on a class. They might even be able to talk to a professor. If your student can stay overnight with a student, that experience can be invaluable.
Tip #2 – Find a time to visit other than school breaks
As attractive as vacation time may be for school visits, you will likely be herded around campus in larger groups than normal, which will impact your lens into that school. Better would be a regular school week, if you can get some time off. If your trip was booked well in advance and you are already on your way, take a look at Tip #1!
Tip #3 - Find out who your Admissions rep is
Be sure to get the email of the admissions person in charge of applications and visits for your region. This is who will be reading your application first. They may even know their upcoming schedule for visiting your student’s high school. Most people don't take advantage of this tip. If your student can get to know the regional rep, who can then relate their essay to a face and a visit, that could very well mean the extra nudge for admission.
If you have an early high school student and want to get started on the right path, contact us at 914-273-2353, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at: www.collegeplanningofwestchester.com