College is a commitment that affects a lifetime. But how do you make the most of college visits?
• First, do your homework. Talking to the school counselor and reading college catalogs could save you a trip. Just before you visit, reread the catalog. Make notes of your questions and things you want to see.
• Go together. Colleges like to see parents, and when the day’s over, you can compare judgments.
• Take a guided tour. These will show you the basics—the size of the library, the dining hall, dormitory rooms, recreational facilities. If the school is out of town, make arrangements with the admissions office.
• Don’t over schedule. It’s foolish to try to visit more than two campuses a day. One campus a day is best.
• Visit classes. Choose several classes of interest and see if they can hold your child’s interest.
• Talk to the students. They have a pretty accurate opinion that they’ll enjoy sharing. Observe their speech and dress. Does your child feel he will fit in?
• Read the college newspaper. It can reveal a lot about students’ concerns and the general college atmosphere.
• Have your teen record her reactions. Notes of what she thought and felt will be useful at decision time.
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