Don't let college planning fall apart - make it happen

Don’t Let College Planning Fall Apart

Don't let college planning fall apart

For many of us, either our teens are already in school or just about to start. Once it begins, we get into the hustle and bustle of our regular routines. We make sure our teens get to school, take them to band or sports practices, and ensure they get their homework done.

Amid our busy schedules, we need to make sure we’re staying on top of college planning.

Here are a few tasks, by grade level, for you what your teen should be focused on now.

Seniors

  • Decide where you want to apply and find out their application deadlines
  • Obtain letters of recommendations for college applications
  • Start drafting the college essay – experts say you should allow two months to do this
  • Get transcripts and ensure the information is correct – sometimes data error happens

Juniors

  • Sign up and prepare for standardized testing
  • Start or update an academic resume
  • Identify which majors you want to pursue
  • Schedule campus tours for the colleges you are interested in  (Use your school breaks to visit a campus when they are in session)

Sophomores

  • Talk to the guidance counselor and consider dual enrollment options
  • Keep track of accomplishments, awards, and recognitions to help prepare for college applications
  • Visit colleges during school breaks to start getting an idea of the type of college you want to attend

Freshman

  • Start identifying careers of interest
  • Keep track of any accomplishments, awards, and recognition – you will need this for your college application
  • Set and keep good study habits

Act on these tasks to make sure that college planning doesn’t get lost in the craziness of everyday life. Your teen’s high school years will come to an end before you know it. Check out our free resources page for campus tour guides.

College planning is tough when you go it alone. It’s much better when you can do it with friends. You provide your house and friends and we will bring food and drink and talk about college planning. Interested in learning more? Contact us at support@myidealcollege.org.

Campus Visit Questions – FREE Download

Are you and your child planning for college visits? You want to make sure you make the most out of the tours and not feeling, “I wished I asked about …”

Download our Campus Tour Starter Questions to help you start putting together your list of questions.

We just need your first name and email for the automatic download.

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An Insider’s Guide to College Campus Tours

How am I an insider? A little-known fact about me: I am a retired college campus tour guide. That’s me circled with my fellow tour guides, known as the Ambassadors.

The Ambassadors were group of students who had many different responsibilities around college campus including serving as hosts at special functions, making alumni donation calls, and one of my favorites, giving campus tours. I walked prospective students and their parents around the campus and told them all about the school I loved. I would show them the buildings for the different majors, the gym, library, dining hall, common area, dorms, etc. As Ambassadors, we had scripts we would follow, as well as answer any questions. I still remember the biggest question I would get asked, “Where is the beach?” Our school tag line was “UNC by the Sea” yet the beach was 10+ miles away.

Prepare your questions ahead of time – You don’t want to leave a college campus tour saying “I wished I had asked about X.” Think of the questions you want to ask ahead of time and write them down. Both you and your child should do this. I am sure your questions will be different. Click here for my free Campus Starter questions to help you and your teen.

Visit the school at night and on weekends – What is the atmosphere like around the college campus? Is there are lot of noise and partying? Is everyone in the library studying? Are there lots of people walking around or is it desolate? Is campus security around? You can ask these questions during a tour but also take a look yourself to get the real answer.

Ask to sit in on a class or two – This could be a general class and/or one in the major your child is interested in. This is a great opportunity to see teaching styles, interaction with students, class size, questions that are asked, etc.

Schedule time with a professor – This is a wonderful opportunity to ask questions about the expectations of students, workload, the best way to communicate, how often they are available, etc. If your child knows what they want to major in, they should definitely do this.

Preparing ahead, planning the questions you want to ask, and making appointments with the people you want to see will provide you with a fuller understanding of campus life for schools your child is interested in. Comment below with additional questions you may have or tour tips you’d like to share.

Is your child still unsure about what they want to major in? Being undecided can impact the years they are in school and how much money comes out of your wallet. Set up a complimentary strategy session to ask your questions so we can help. Click here to set up a time or give us a call at 678-761-3550.

The Campus Visit

College is a lot more than classes; it’s the atmosphere that your child will be in for their entire college experience. Visiting the campus plays an important part in choosing which college is the best fit for your child. This is the time to visit dorms, offices, classrooms, the town in which it is located and get any questions answered that you might have.

When you visit a college there will usually be a current student or alumni giving you a tour. By doing this, you and your child will receive first hand information on what really goes on at the school. You can ask this tour guide anything related to the academics, sports, clubs and whatever else may come to your mind. That is what they are there for!

Another great perk to visiting a school campus is getting to see the dorms. Most colleges require that freshman live on campus so this is the perfect chance to get a feel for where your child will be living and what their room needs might be. This way, you can also put dorm preferences on your application if applicable!

Next, you and your child should take your own tour around the town in which the school is located. Make sure to find where important places are, such as grocery stores, coffee shops, and walk in clinic because you never know when the flu season will hit. It is important to get your bearings for the area.

If you want to visit a college, you can schedule a time by going to the college website and searching for tours and visits. Additionally, your child’s school office should have a variety of resources on how to get into contact with colleges of your choice. If you did not take any tours during your child’s junior year of high school the fall is the time to take those tours with your now high school senior.