Don’t Settle for the Standard Tour

College CampusFor any trip students take this summer, it’s important to remember the essentials, like a map, iPod, extra batteries and their record of SAT scores. Yup, if a college visit is part of this year’s vacation schedule, students will need those scores and a lot more to get the most out of their trek. For you to help them get organized for their campus tour, I’ve prepared the following checklist. (It’s meant for the students, but parents are encouraged to coach them where necessary):

Arrange Visit through Admissions Office
You should call or e-mail this office and get the name of an admissions counselor. This is your contact person going forward.

Prepare a List of Questions
Do your homework and ask as many questions as you can. I’ll get you started with the first two questions you should ask the admissions counselor:

  • Given my grade point average, SAT and/or ACT scores and the high school courses I’ve taken, am I acceptable for admission?
  • Given my academic qualifications, what will we have to pay each year factoring in possible scholarships, my family’s annual income, financial aid, and personal expenses? (Yes, your student should know how much it costs to go to college.) 

Create an Academic Profile
Include your high school transcript and scores from standardized tests like the PSAT, PLAN, ACT and/or SAT. Also show courses that you plan to take to finish your high school program.

Visit These Main Places
Admissions, Financial Aid, Academic Advising, College Degree/Major, Residence Life, Career Counseling, Academic Affairs, Campus Security

Plan Two Different Experiences
1. The experience conducted by the Admissions Office — like a car dealership tour
2. The experience you conduct on your own — where you test drive the car

Put It in Perspective
The particular college you decide upon should be the one that’ll bring out the best of your intellectual and personal qualities. Beware: This choice can’t be made based just on the recommendation of others or from a distance.

Get your free 9-page report, “The Parents’ Guide on How to Shop for Colleges and Universities,” by completing the sign-up form at the bottom of this post.

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