A growing trend for families is making college visits during a student’s Sophomore or Freshman year of high school.
In the past it was commonplace for high school students to make college visits during Junior year, or during the Fall of Senior year. But times have certainly changed. Taking early college visits is a good idea for parents and students that are trying to make a college decision; here are reasons why.
Being able to walk on campus and get a feel for the environment is important. The student can see themselves as part of the community. Get an up close look at the buildings like the dorms, student union building, class rooms, lecture halls and gymnasiums. The facilities offered on campus are an important part of the college experience.
Colleges are competing to recruit the best students and students are competing to get into the best institutions. Taking college trips early in high school puts the student in a position to compete because they can see what goals they are working towards.
3. Account for Costs
You should want to know where your money is going when you pay tuition. Be warned: There will be sticker price shock, but this is good. It allows for families to face the realities of college costs and deal with it accordingly. By going to several different schools you can contrast and compare each choice. With the increased cost of college, it is more important than ever to make sure your school provides value for what is being paid.
4. Get to talk to actual students
Your tour guides and admissions counselors will offer friendly assistance, but you want to get the inside scoop. After your standard tour, take a walk around campus and talk to many different students. They can tell you about what goes on at the school, what the classes are like, how the professors are, and their dealings with administration. They are a great source of pertinent first-hand college knowledge, and are the final product of what the institution can produce.
5. It’s Fun
High school can have many frustrating moments, but it is a great feeling to know that there is something after high school to work towards. It reinforces that doing well in high school can lead to new and better opportunities in the future. It may feel like high school is taking forever, but rest assured that it will end and new pathways will open.
6. It’s a Reality Check
Measure costs and admissions standards of each school and compare them with College goals. This will lead to a firm decision. College visits can help to solidify that decision by learning firsthand what options are available. Part of this process will be the elimination of college choices that are unattainable academically or financially, and the revelation of college choices that are sensible. Then you can focus on a limited number of rational choices that will serve best.