Jump to content

Menu

How do college visits work?


swimmermom3
 Share

Recommended Posts

:blushing:

 

Sailor Dude has applied to seven schools.  All of them are serious considerations.  Dh thinks we can take a week, flying in to Chicago and seeing two schools that are about two hours from each other and then road-tripping to Maryland and there about for three other schools.  We will see family and one school along the way.

 

I know many of you have seen schools before your student applied; however, recent ACT scores were a bit of a game-changer for ds and we have some different considerations.

 

What can we expect with visits? How do we set them up?  How much time do we allow. Given that we are looking at travel in the Mid-West and East Coast in winter/early spring, are we nuts?

 

 

 

 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The admissions office at each school will arrange for a campus visit.  A basic campus visit at most schools take about three hours  and will include a basic overview of the school (admission policies, curriculum, student organizations, etc.) and a walking campus tour; there is usually an opportunity to talk to an admissions counselor or financial aid officer.  These visits will be generic rather than major specific.  If two colleges are close together, it would be possible to visit one in the morning and one in the afternoon, but it will take some coordination with the timing of the visits.  

 

If the student has specific interests (major, sport, extracurricular activity, honors college, etc.) often a meeting can be arranged through the admissions department, but many schools are going to require about 3 weeks advance notice to arrange those (and that will take a day to get in the activity).

 

For a child who has no preference among a number of schools, a whirlwind trip to a number of campuses in a week may help eliminate (or increase interest in) some.  I would encourage a longer visit to any school that is a top consideration to provide time to go to the campus cafeteria, talk to students, pick up the school newspaper and read it, visit the bookstore, hang out in the nearby coffee shop, and participate in other activities that give you a feel for the school's atmosphere.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with jdahlquist for the most part.  I usually prefer individual visits that are customized for your student rather than big "visit days" for the most part.  Some times, the accepted student days can be worthwhile, but those take more time.  I like to set up a meeting with the desired department if possible and attend a class. 

 

As  far as seeing midwest schools in the winter/spring ... i don't see why not.  If the student goes there, they will experience winter.  So, why not see it on that kind of day?  Find out what students do on those kinds of days. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For all of our college visits so far (about 7 between two kids) you schedule your visit online.  Many schools have 2 daily tours starting at 9am and 1pm.  They last about 3 hours at the most.  

 

On the scheduling form there is sometimes a spot to request a visit with a coach or department head.   If not, make a call and get a meeting scheduled - a face to face meeting is very important for an athlete.  

 

We did a few of our tours with snow on the ground - not pleasant, but hey, if they go to school there, it's something good to experience before you commit.  

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So you've got

 

day 1: fly to Chicago, stay near one school

day 2: visit school 1 early, drive to school 2, visit school 2 (long day, school 2 may suffer in comparison)

days 3-4: drive, visit family, see school 3

day 5: drive to near school 4

day 6: visit school 4 and school 5

day 7: visit school 6, have coffee with Luckymama ;)

day 8: fly home

 

Does that sound about right? Weather could be a consideration if you're thinking March.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only catch to seeing 2 schools in one day is exhaustion! And it might limit having time to visit with a professor or to have lunch on campus with students. 

 

But those visits were really important in making a final decision, so definitely worth the time. Definitely contact the admissions office to set things up.

 

Any chance there are WTM kids at any of these schools? Getting some personal insight is always helpful...

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd look online and see what the visit options are at the various schools. Some days there may not be tours offered. I can't imagine trying to do two schools in a day, especially if they are two hours apart.  I do completely understand the need for whirlwind visits though, living in a geographically isolated location ourselves! We are doing one visit during a long layover on the west coast, following a visit at an east coast school :-)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It really sounds like too many schools in too short of a time.

 

If you can't spend time without being in a hurry, all you're going to be left with is a vague impression of whether the tour guides were nice. And even then, you might not be sure whether that guy was at school A or school B.

 

Any chance you could do the trip in April? Your admissions and financial aid offers may cross a few schools off the list and simplify the trip. With a longer trip, you can eat a meal and/or sit in on a class with students to see what they are like, get a feel for the local area, etc.

 

DD did a 4 schools in 7 days trip, and there was one pair of schools that were back-to-back. She really regrets that she did not get a chance to see the town for the one school that had to be cut short for the other one.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it would be far more helpful to pick the top 3 or 4 schools. Even with that, it will be tough to schedule extra things like sitting in on a class, meeting with department head, and so on for all of them, because it's generally an all-day thing. 

 

7 schools in less than 7 days is only going to give a whirlwind impression. I did find the 'standard' tours to be quite helpful, because they make sure you get an overview of campus, and they give a lot of information on how organized the school is, lol. But we also learned a lot during the 'wandering around' period, and eating on campus. 

 

Like others noted, most schools require 2-3 weeks to set up the extras. If you have more than one extra, then scheduling is trickier and you can't count on submitting requests for certain days to 4 schools and having them all line up. For example, at one school, we had to switch days because certain classes (that she wanted to see) are only offered on certain days. 

 

Start with your top priorities and fit others in as you can. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think putting that many schools in a short would make all you see run together. If you do that, I think each person ( future student, mom, dad, little brother) who takes a tour should record notes of what they saw and what stood out. That way you aren't home two weeks later trying to remember which school had the ....

 

I made a table for each school to compare attributes important to dd. You could create the doc before you start the trip and edit it on your laptop each night.

 

Besides remembering, I think by the third school you may have fatigue and not have good focus to hear about things that might be important to hour student.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Go on the college websites and schedule visits.

I recommend doing only one per day.

It's a good idea to contact the department as well, and find out whether you can do an informational interview in the department before or after the regular tour.

 

I always tried to eat at a cafeteria or at least spend some quality time studying the menus.  I also would go look at the library and go look at the bookstore (you would be amazed at how common it is to have not much in either one, and that was one of the ways that I judged the smaller private universities.)  Stop and think about what your specific priorities might be before you go.

 

I planned travel time in between cities, and allowed some extra time for weather since we were going on our most major one in February.  We didn't have much trouble with that, but we easily could have.  Take your time, and be sure you can picture each one afterwards.  

 

Also remember they are evaluating  you and your child as you go through.  DD got a major scholarship offer that was supposedly impossible after she wowed the college of her choice on our campus visit.  It was a dream come true for her, and saved us almost $35,000 over a four year period.  WEP, as the saying goes.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because my son was applying as a performing arts major, which often required audition(s), we found it impractical to visit more than one campus a day in any meaningful way. I did take him on a brief road trip when he was just at the beginning of his college search and application process during which we hit a couple of campuses a day on two days, but those were really just very preliminary rule in/rule out drive-bys.

 

Once he he got to the schools in which he was genuinely interested, though, it pretty much required most of a day to do each one. We would usually do a tour of the campus, sometimes a meeting with an admissions representative and/or the head(s) of the department(s) to which my son was interested in applying. Often, he was invited to attend a class or two, as well. We made a point of eating at least one meal in the cafeteria (because as a dancer and a vegan, my son is VERY interested in food and somewhat difficult to kept properly fed). He also scheduled interviews and auditions for while we were already on campus. In a couple of cases, we ended up being on campus for two days. 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So we completed our college tours over the summer.  On our longest trip we saw 5 colleges in four days.  While this is in no way the ideal for such a trip it is sometimes unavoidable due to other circumstances-that was certainly our case and sounds like it might be yours as well.

 

Here is my advice (FWIW):

 

1) Plan travel time and decide which schools you will see in the morning and which in the afternoon on which days.  In our experience it was difficult to plan 2 schools in one day unless they were 2 hours travel time or less apart.  

 

2) Visit the admissions websites and click on visit.  This will usually take you to a calendar where you check the date and time you want to visit.  Sign up ASAP as the slots do fill quickly.  This type of sign up will usually get you the group tour and group presentation.  If you have time then follow up with classroom visits, faculty meetings, sports/coaches meetings, and so on.  These often have to be arranged more personally with admissions or departments directly depending on the school.  Keep in mind that when they ask for tour reservations they often ask how many people.  If it rejects your initial family total you might put in fewer people to reserve the date.  In our experience the computer has a number but the staff, on the day, are happy to accommodate family groups.  

 

3 )Be prepared for impromptu interviews.  We found that questions related to homeschooling often led to meetings with the admissions counselor that often turned into formal and informal interviews for dd.

 

4) Bring warm clothes and comfortable footwear.  Need to be prepared for a variety of weather.

 

5) Remember to plan time to eat-breakfast was mandatory and lunch was sometimes hard to squeeze in on the road.

 

6) If Sailor Dude is in the running for any interview based scholarships or if interviews are required you might schedule them for this trip and allow time for it.  

 

7)Talk ahead of time about what he wants to know more about-food, dorms/housing options, sports (NCAA, intramural, gym facilities, outdoor program), greek life, clubs/organizations, library or lab resources, specific majors, honors programs, computer resources, academic services (i.e. writing or math assistance), local area, etc.  That way the family can focus on what is important and what stands out.

 

8) Meet with financial aid if necessary.

 

Have fun-lots of folks talk about ideal ways to tour but sometimes you just have to do what you are able.  

Edited by JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Calvin travelled to seven universities, in all but two cases he travelled one day, stayed overnight, spent a day at the university and then travelled back.  One was a day trip and in one case he stayed away two nights.  

 

While it took a lot of time, the universities remained distinct in his head and he was able to make some good decisions.  Husband or I accompanied him to about half of them; the rest he did on his own.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We took my junior to visit 7 colleges in a span of 4 days. We didn't go on any official tours as I just wanted him to get a feel for whether he liked the vibe at each of the campuses. Some of the schools that looked like a great fit on paper, were eliminated after visiting. One of the schools that we decided to stop at because it was on the driving route, ended up on on his list.

 

Since your son has already applied to the schools he wants to visit, I think I would wait until acceptances come in and plan your visit when at least one of the colleges has its accepted students event.

 

Good luck!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's no way I would visit more than one school in one day.  I can't fathom the time constraint giving justice to either school and I imagine the brain would end up confused with which pleasant or unpleasant aspect was where.

 

We've done multiple schools on short trips, but only one per day.  Then we took the time after the visit to hash out everything about the school that any of us noticed.  If we could put a travel day between schools, that was better, but that didn't always happen.

 

But then again, we don't "just" do the tour, etc.  We hang out on campus seeing what's around at different hours.  If possible, we eat in the dining hall.  We have conversations with students who are not supplied to us by admissions.  We met with department representatives.  There was one school visit schedule the day we flew out of town.  I thought we'd have plenty of time since we didn't have to be at the airport until 4pm (and it was justs 30 minutes from the school).  We all felt rushed... I'd never do that again.

 

I'll second Janet's suggestion - can the trip be done in April after some of the schools have fallen off your list financially?

 

If not, I'd narrow it down on paper to those schools most likely to be preferred or I'd make sure our travel time allowed for no more than one school per day.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for this thread!  As someone who went to college before college visits were the norm, I was cringing at the thought of figuring out what to do.  This is very helpful information.

 

My Alma Mater was a three hour drive from my home and I didn't even get to visit it before I actually went to school there, but at that time, the decision-making process wasn't that hard.  Most middle class families we knew chose in-state and only one affordable school had my major.

 

My husband has a very different take. He is the son of missionaries, who lived most of the time in Japan.  Dh applied to 3 American colleges all sight unseen.  He spent his first year at Knox College and hated it with a passion primarily due to the location.  He's willing to give up air miles, vacation time, and home improvement money to make sure ds's college is the right fit.  Of course, the fact that Sailor Dude is the youngest of three children and the only one who wants to go on to college might play into the picture too. :tongue_smilie:

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you must travel and do many campus visits in a short period of time and you haven't visited any campuses before, I would suggest visiting any local campuses, even if they are not being considered.  That may sound like a waste of time, but I found that it helped my children be more prepared for real campus visits.  They knew things they liked and disliked.  They heard things mentioned in one tour that that raised questions they wanted to make sure they asked in future tours.  

  • Like 13
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Some times, the accepted student days can be worthwhile, but those take more time.  I like to set up a meeting with the desired department if possible and attend a class. 

 

Check to see what the admitted student day is like before you decide whether or not to attend it. My son met his advisor and attended a class on admitted student day. It was very personalized to his major. While he was doing that, I met with the Assistant Dean of his college in a group with other parents. The meeting is usually with the Dean, but she was out of town for a family emergency. We met her during orientation. This is a mid-size state university with about 17K students. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Any chance you could do the trip in April? Your admissions and financial aid offers may cross a few schools off the list and simplify the trip.

 

I really think this is too late to be visiting schools for the first time. There are too many variables at play. One primary concern would be housing - once applicants are accepted, housing starts to fill. Unless freshmen are guaranteed a spot in a dorm, this is really too late. Even then, the student might lose the ability to state a preference for which dorm to live in and might end up in the one furthest from classes, dining, parking, with no air conditioning and no elevator. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really think this is too late to be visiting schools for the first time. There are too many variables at play. One primary concern would be housing - once applicants are accepted, housing starts to fill. Unless freshmen are guaranteed a spot in a dorm, this is really too late. Even then, the student might lose the ability to state a preference for which dorm to live in and might end up in the one furthest from classes, dining, parking, with no air conditioning and no elevator.

I was thinking about the national date to send tuition deposits, which is May 1st.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really think this is too late to be visiting schools for the first time. There are too many variables at play. One primary concern would be housing - once applicants are accepted, housing starts to fill. Unless freshmen are guaranteed a spot in a dorm, this is really too late. Even then, the student might lose the ability to state a preference for which dorm to live in and might end up in the one furthest from classes, dining, parking, with no air conditioning and no elevator. 

 

FWIW, this totally depends upon the school and didn't happen at any of the three mine chose to attend.

 

It's worth it checking on the school to see how it works for that school though since it happens sometimes.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If at all possible, I'd also recommend visiting no more than one college per day.  This would give you ample time to take a tour, sit in on a class, visit the book store, dining hall, library, check out bulletin boards, chat with passing students, pick up the campus newspaper, and read the graffiti in the restrooms.

 

 

If you must travel and do many campus visits in a short period of time and you haven't visited any campuses before, I would suggest visiting any local campuses, even if they are not being considered.  That may sound like a waste of time, but I found that it helped my children be more prepared for real campus visits.  They knew things they liked and disliked.  They heard things mentioned in one tour that that raised questions they wanted to make sure they asked in future tours.  

 

I think this is a stellar suggestion.

 

Regards,

Kareni
 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm remembering one school which seemed like a "no" at the end of the morning part of the tour, and was a definite "yes" and moved ahead of another school after the afternoon bit (which included lunch and meeting with professors.)

 

The nice thing about April visits (speaking as the parent of someone who made her decision on April 30) is that the financial aid info is in, and you really have a better sense of the top choices.

Edited by Gr8lander
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was thinking about the national date to send tuition deposits, which is May 1st.

 

That is the last date deposits are due. In reality, the acceptances go out way before that and as soon as they go out, deposits to hold spots are accepted. DS received his offer in December and accepted it in January complete with his deposit. Then, he was able to be in the first round for incoming students when dorm registration opened. Each university does their housing registration differently. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

however, recent ACT scores were a bit of a game-changer for ds and we have some different considerations

 

Totally unrelated to the topic (as I have nothing to add to the wisdom of the Hive here), but I just have to  :hurray:  and  :party: after seeing this. Having watched from the shadows SailorDude's journey through high school on here, I'm so happy for you both.  :thumbup:

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is the last date deposits are due. In reality, the acceptances go out way before that and as soon as they go out, deposits to hold spots are accepted.  

 

This is only true of rolling admission schools IME.  Many students, even if accepted to rolling admission schools, have non-rolling admission schools they have also applied to, so they prefer to wait to see all their options.

 

Non-rolling admission schools rarely do anything with housing until after May 1st as they want to know how many students are coming.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

:blushing:

 

Sailor Dude has applied to seven schools.  All of them are serious considerations.  Dh thinks we can take a week, flying in to Chicago and seeing two schools that are about two hours from each other and then road-tripping to Maryland and there about for three other schools.  We will see family and one school along the way.

 

I know many of you have seen schools before your student applied; however, recent ACT scores were a bit of a game-changer for ds and we have some different considerations.

 

What can we expect with visits? How do we set them up?  How much time do we allow. Given that we are looking at travel in the Mid-West and East Coast in winter/early spring, are we nuts?

 

The visits we did were arranged through the admissions page on the college website.  In most cases, there was some automated form to fill out to get us on the list.  These were just for general college visits that included an admissions brief, the opportuity to meet with an admissions counselor, and a tour around campus with a student.

 

After a couple of these, they really started to blur.  It did convey that college was a fun and educational place to be, that had good food, a pool and probably a climbing wall.  :laugh:  It didn't give any information about what life in a particular major would be like.  It didn't give information about the strengths of specific departments.  For that, I think we would have needed to get into contact with the departments and arrange meetings with professors or students within that major.

 

I don't know if my senior will see any more schools before saying yes to one.  I've encouraged him to spend a lot of time on websites and emailing people within the departments for more information.  (Partly, I'm not willing to spend a lot of money for a trip unless he is willing to do the homework first.)  Also he isn't very swayed by location or dorm amenities or food options.  On the other hand, I know students in CA and HI who are very sensitive to location.  Having grown up in a warm location, they really don't want to go to school somewhere that there is snowmobile parking, no matter how good the engineering program.  (I'm not trying to make is sound like my kid is somehow superior.  He just doesn't care much about a lot of the things that can be distinguished via a college visit.  It's pretty hard to figure out if the actual classes a student has will meet their ideal of college or not.)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is only true of rolling admission schools IME.  Many students, even if accepted to rolling admission schools, have non-rolling admission schools they have also applied to, so they prefer to wait to see all their options.

 

Non-rolling admission schools rarely do anything with housing until after May 1st as they want to know how many students are coming.

 

Early decision schools take deposits as well. Actually, I haven't heard of a single school that doesn't take deposits from any admission offer once it is sent. The point is to secure your spot in the class. A lot of people know what their options are as soon as acceptance letters are received because they know they will not qualify for financial aid. Even then, financial aid packages are known in advance of the May 1 deadline. 

 

As I said earlier, schools do housing differently. It is a separate decision than deciding to attend the school. But, because schools do it differently, housing options can certainly be affected by the order in which the deposits were received, even if they don't assign housing prior to May 1.  There are also some schools that don't allow incoming freshmen to specify their housing preferences other than requesting a specific person as a roommate. Some schools have designated freshmen dorms while others spread the freshmen around, giving upperclassmen "squatters rights." Another thing schools have to take into consideration are disability accommodations, making sure everyone who needs one has a room that is suitable for their particular needs. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Early decision schools take deposits as well. Actually, I haven't heard of a single school that doesn't take deposits from any admission offer once it is sent. The point is to secure your spot in the class.  

 

True, but this certainly isn't an ED situation.  In those situations, folks commit when they apply, so yes, there's no need to wait on any deposit. Students have already committed and they're just putting on the finishing seal.  There's no need to do later visits of several schools either.  ;)

 

For the rest of the students (non ED students), the difference between visiting in March or April - esp when one can have all their financial info in April to know what schools make the cut - is nowhere near the same.  Many top choice schools don't announce acceptances until mid or later March.  Sending in housing deposits earlier, esp if they come with a commitment, is losing money at best and unethical at worst.  If housing deposits are refundable, those can be sent in and cancelled without an earlier visit and it's no problem.  If losing money is not an issue - ditto.  I'd never suggest making commitments one isn't sure they want to keep (happens when the deposit comes with a commitment).  That denies others spots and is just plain wrong.

 

If one had all that info in March (rolling admission or earlier decision w/finances schools) then there is no advantage to waiting until April.

 

Everyone needs to know their situation.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

:blushing:

 

Sailor Dude has applied to seven schools.  All of them are serious considerations.  Dh thinks we can take a week, flying in to Chicago and seeing two schools that are about two hours from each other and then road-tripping to Maryland and there about for three other schools.  We will see family and one school along the way.

 

 

I would assume some weeks in between these trips?

 

I would push the Chicago trip (flights) to late March - early April to avoid the possibility of a blizzard wrecking the whole thing.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you must travel and do many campus visits in a short period of time and you haven't visited any campuses before, I would suggest visiting any local campuses, even if they are not being considered.  That may sound like a waste of time, but I found that it helped my children be more prepared for real campus visits.  They knew things they liked and disliked.  They heard things mentioned in one tour that that raised questions they wanted to make sure they asked in future tours.  

 

This is what I'm planning to do with DS, maybe in February, even though he's only a high school freshman. 

 

I want him to get a feel for the "archetypes" of schools - rural/urban, large/medium/small, state vs. private, etc.  I am also hoping that visiting will make the idea of college more concrete to him - I want him to be able to imagine himself as part of a campus community.  (Do you think *that* will get him to take better notes in HS? LOL)

 

I was thinking of visiting 3 schools in 2 days (with a 3rd day for traveling home).  I would choose schools he is *not* likely to want to attend, to keep it more objective.

 

Should we still take the tours, or would that be frowned upon given that he's still a few years shy of applying?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

For the rest of the students (non ED students), the difference between visiting in March or April - esp when one can have all their financial info in April to know what schools make the cut - is nowhere near the same.  Many top choice schools don't announce acceptances until mid or later March.  Sending in housing deposits earlier, esp if they come with a commitment, is losing money at best and unethical at worst.  If housing deposits are refundable, those can be sent in and cancelled without an earlier visit and it's no problem.  If losing money is not an issue - ditto.  I'd never suggest making commitments one isn't sure they want to keep (happens when the deposit comes with a commitment).  That denies others spots and is just plain wrong.

 

 

I never suggested making commitments one isn't sure they want to keep, either. I don't know where you got that idea.  I'm not suggesting randomly sending in deposits and never said anything of the sort. 

 

What one considers a "top choice" school is completely subjective.  

 

The issue at hand is whether or not April is a good time to visit schools for the first time when a decision must be made by May 1. My viewpoint is that it is not - first visits should have taken place before that. If you have to hold of on making a commitment until April, then second visits during that month would be fine, I think. But, you need to be aware that the timing of your deposit can affect housing options.  In many universities, housing fills very quickly. Some universities have a first-come, first-served housing policy. Others open housing registration to incoming freshman on a particular day. Some have residential living communities that have an application process. Other universities tie the day you can apply to housing to the date the tuition deposit is made. There are dozens of scenarios. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The issue at hand is whether or not April is a good time to visit schools for the first time when a decision must be made by May 1.  

 

Sort of.  The difference in this particular case is potentially trying to fit in so many schools on a single trip that visits aren't really worth much.  I think it's better to wait until April and pick out the top schools in consideration rather than going in March and trying to see all the schools IF all the pertinent info isn't in before the travel time in March.  

 

If all the info is in, then March is fine and potentially better, but I'd still limit visits to top contenders rather than trying to see ALL of them (unless all are truly contenders).

 

Honestly, the difference in visiting between March and April is nil with schools that give their acceptances and financial decisions then.

 

Visiting before applying is generally what I recommend overall, but not something that can always happen.  Middle son never visited URoc until after he was accepted and it worked out fine.  We also axed visiting one school he applied to and was accepted at because it didn't end up being a contender once acceptances and finances were in.  We saved both money and time.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is what I'm planning to do with DS, maybe in February, even though he's only a high school freshman. 

 

I want him to get a feel for the "archetypes" of schools - rural/urban, large/medium/small, state vs. private, etc.  I am also hoping that visiting will make the idea of college more concrete to him - I want him to be able to imagine himself as part of a campus community.  (Do you think *that* will get him to take better notes in HS? LOL)

 

I was thinking of visiting 3 schools in 2 days (with a 3rd day for traveling home).  I would choose schools he is *not* likely to want to attend, to keep it more objective.

 

Should we still take the tours, or would that be frowned upon given that he's still a few years shy of applying?

The policy of doing tours early in high school will vary from university to university.  DD did some her freshman year as I had some work related trips that resulted in our traveling to places we did not usually go.  I have seen some universities who will not do campus tours until the junior year of high school.  

 

In addition to the website, a few other ways to get to know more about a college without the expense of visiting are:  1) A college fair for high school students; sometimes these are located at a local high school, community college, or college.  Admissions counselors from a number of schools will be there to meet with students.  2)  Presentations/reception hosted by a university in your local area; these are often "by invitation" 3) meeting with a university alum in your local area.  These options don't give you the overall fill for the campus, but it does give you the opportunity to see how the university presents itself. More importantly, I think, is that it gets the high school student thinking about college choices and more comfortable talking to admissions counselors.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We squished ours together. It was too stressful to spread them out. I think the local archetypes suggestion is excellent. We did that. It gave my sons something to compare to. Mine chose by major and academic structure. The academic structure part, while available online, really benefitted by the added information given during one of the official visit days (not just a regular tour). Labs and shops were open then, as well, and coaches available. Two of mine wanted to talk to the athletic department and find out what sports were available to them as former gymnasts. If you are looking at a more ordinary college (standard department divisions, semesters, and grading policies, no required coops) with a non-equipment-based major (something like English), this might not matter as much. The ordinary campus tour plus a look at the students, a few questions about how much they study, how easy it is to talk to profs and get the classes they want, a look at the surrounding area, library hours, commons, and dorms might all be fine and very much doable at a rate of two a day. Put that info together with the statistics on out-of-state students, diversity, retention, graduation, and acceptence rates; and a look at the course offerings and qualifications of the profs and accreditations, and you probably can get some sort of impression. Don,t forget to look at student faces. Are they happy? Studying in groups? Do they call out come here you,ll love it? Are they visible? Or is the campus dead and frowning and solitary? That told us a LOT.

 

Good luck!

Nan

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We found with my 2013 grad daughter that a few schools would pay a certain amount for her to fly-in and visit the school after she was admitted. There's no guarantee of this, but just something to keep in mind that could happen.

 

Re: early deposits, my current senior's EA school isn't even doing admitted students days until April, and the bulk of their admitted students won't know their decision until the very end of March. For many schools, April visits are definitely expected :-) On the other hand, we've received pressure from many of her rolling admissions schools to put in deposits to secure housing. No way that can be done at this point though before all the acceptance and financial aid information is in.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

FWIW - DS ended up at a school we never visited. We simply couldn't afford it.  We had been in the town while studying the Civil War during our homeschool years so the area wasn't a complete unknown.

 

I took DS on a 7-day driving trip to visit his top five schools (all east coast) and we did two visits in one day.  The second visit was rushed as it was the last tour of the day and most everything on campus was closed.   When we visited we stuck mostly with the generic tours and campus activities since DS had no clue what he wanted to study.  There was no reason to make appointments with department heads or faculty. 

 

I suggest you do what's best for your son and your family.  If this is what you can afford with time and finances, go.  Enjoy it. Take pictures and make memories. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So you've got

 

day 1: fly to Chicago, stay near one school

day 2: visit school 1 early, drive to school 2, visit school 2 (long day, school 2 may suffer in comparison)

days 3-4: drive, visit family, see school 3

day 5: drive to near school 4

day 6: visit school 4 and school 5

day 7: visit school 6, have coffee with Luckymama ;)

day 8: fly home

 

Does that sound about right? Weather could be a consideration if you're thinking March.

There are lots of boardies within a couple of hours of Chicago.  Maybe one of us could help.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Totally unrelated to the topic (as I have nothing to add to the wisdom of the Hive here), but I just have to  :hurray:  and  :party: after seeing this. Having watched from the shadows SailorDude's journey through high school on here, I'm so happy for you both.  :thumbup:

 

I am so sorry I am late in seeing this, but then today is a good day to read your kind words of support as Sailor Dude is suffering from a bit of senioritis and his teacher is cranky with him.

 

Our older two kids decided not to go on to college after primarily B & M educations and I think Sailor Dude would be in the same spot if it weren't for homeschooling and more importantly, this board.

 

SWB and this forum absolutely rock!  Our journey has been so much richer for all of the support, encouragement, and out-of-the-box thinking ;) we've experienced here.

 

:grouphug: to you, RootAnn, for the lovely and cheering thoughts.

 

:grouphug:  and :cheers2:  to everyone else that working to send off a new college student this coming fall.

 

You know, I love you all! :001_wub:

Edited by swimmermom3
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would assume some weeks in between these trips?

 

I would push the Chicago trip (flights) to late March - early April to avoid the possibility of a blizzard wrecking the whole thing.

 

I was going to say something similar.  You might want to give yourself some cushion time for your travel dates, because when a blizzard hits anywhere on the east coast, many airports are affected and then stranded people go nuts with renting vehicles, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We flew to Chicago during the summer, rented car and visited schools. We made another two trips East to visit schools. There were two schools we never got to tour. One my daughter got accepted at but decided not to go to. The other one she got accepted at, into program she wanted and we made another trip to East Coast to tour school for first time on revisit day. Did I mention it was snowing hard!

 

We loved school immediately and the more we toured the more we loved it. Which was good because I was tapped out $$$ wise and if she picked another school it would have been without touring it first.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

ˆf your son is "being recruited" to any of these schools, the school may well organize a visit for you that is more involved than the simple tour. We got very little info from the tour, but learned lots more from the sessions organized by the various recruiters.

 

I.e., U. Alabama honors college organized a full day and a half of tour, visits with profs in the majors of interest, honors college info session, lunch with a student representative, etc. 

 

IME, I'd allow a full day for any school you are seriously interested in. Do a morning tour, and do as many of the departmental visits/etc that they will organize for you.

 

We didn't visit any elite schools, but if you are, then you likely need to allow time for an interview as well.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...