Campus visits are vital in determining which colleges your teen wants to attend. You wouldn’t buy a house without checking it out first. Why would you apply to a college, sight unseen?
First, let’s talk about when your teen should visit college campuses. We often assume that campus tours should happen during the spring semester of junior year, and yes, most families do schedule tours during Spring Break.
Campus tours should begin during your student’s first or second year of high school. Touring early will allow your teen to start thinking about their college wish list and give them a feel for campus life.
Your family can visit colleges close to home, or if you’re taking a trip, you can visit any colleges along the way. If possible, visit different size campuses. Ask your teen what they like or don’t like about the various campuses.
When it comes to visiting colleges during junior year, there are some criteria you can use to evaluate which ones to spend time and money visiting. The criteria are:
- Major – does the school offer your teen’s desired major? If not, mark it off your list.
- Internships – does the college have an internship program in the specific major your teen wants? How good is the program?
- Job Possibilities – what is the hiring rate for college graduates in your teen’s field of interest?
- Location – this can include the distance from home and if your teen prefers to live near a city or in a small town.
- Class Size – would your teen do better in a class with just a few students, or are they OK with being in a class with a hundred other students?
- Extracurriculars – does the college have groups or activities that your teen would enjoy?
- Housing – what is the living situation on or near campus? Do first-year students automatically get on-campus housing?
- Accessibility – do the professors have regular office hours? What tutoring services are available, should your teen need them?
My client Corinne’s wish list included an environmental science degree program, small class sizes, internship opportunities, and HBCU designation. Considering all these desirables, I provided Corinne’s family with a list of potential colleges to visit. What would have taken them hours to research and figure out on their own, I was able to narrow down a campus list and save Corinne’s family a great deal of time and stress.
The college planning process doesn’t need to be stressful and time-consuming. I’m here to help. Schedule a complimentary College Assessment Plan call with me to help get you and your teen started.