The ABCs of College Visits – Part Three

Published by Wendy Nelson on

This is the third and final post in a three-part series about college visits.  Today I am posting Q through Z in The ABCs of College Visits.

Q –         Questions – Be sure to ask lots!  With my daughter, we would be on a tour with a current student, we would have the student all to ourselves, and she wouldn’t ask any questions!  I had to take it upon myself to think of things I would want to know if I was thinking about going there.  If your child is outgoing, prep him or her ahead of time to think of questions.  If not, think of some on your own.

R –          Read up on the school before the visit so you know what you want to ask about.  The school website is the best place to start.

S –          Sit in on a class – If the visit day allows or if you are scheduling your own visit on a day when classes are in session, find out if your child can sit in on a class.  If possible, ask for a subject your child is actually interested in.  Usually the parents cannot sit in on the class with the child, so make plans for something else during that time.

T –          Tour – a key part of any college visit!

U –         Umbrellas – If there is any rain in the forecast, you should bring umbrellas for everyone who will be going on the tour.  Some colleges have a few at the admissions office, but don’t count on it.

V –         Vacation – It can be a good use of time to plan a college visit or two around your family vacation.  Maybe a visit on the way somewhere and another visit on the way back.  Just make sure you have plans for any younger children who have to tag along.  What we did was have one parent go to the information session and the other parent took the younger child to the library or student center to hang out.

W –        Who else might you want to meet with on campus besides Admissions?  You should be able to meet with faculty and athletic coaches.  If your child has a strong interest in a particular academic area, meeting with the department chair or other faculty member might be helpful to get a feel for what that academic program would be like.  If your child wants to play a varsity sport, it would be good to talk to the coach.  There are also opportunities for auditions for music and dance programs, and you can usually make the audition part of a larger overall campus visit.

X –          eXplore – Try to allow enough time to explore the college town or city before or after your college visit.  After all, your child will potentially be living there for 4 years.  You want to see if it will meet his or her needs.  Is there someplace close by to buy the basics?  Are there some good restaurants?  What about clothing stores, movie theaters, etc.?

Y –          You will probably receive information about more specialized visits after your child has been admitted to a school.  Many schools have Admitted Student Days or weekends with activities for both the prospective students and the prospective parents.  There may also be other visits for scholarship competitions or honors program admission receptions.  Before your child actually attends his or her selected college, there will probably be 3 or more visits to the campus.  Keep that in mind when looking at far-away schools.  While these visits are not mandatory, your child will feel more comfortable on day 1 of freshman year if he or she is more familiar with the campus.

Z –           ZZZs – Make sure your child gets plenty of ZZZs (sleep) before a long college visit day.  Teenagers are so much more pleasant when they are well rested!