One second you were changing diapers, the next you’re going on college tours. How time flies! Your soon-to-be college kid is fantasizing about attending that dream college, and you’re in for the ride too. Learn how to make the most out of those college tours by following to these eight simple tips.
Think of your family as a famous rock band, on tour and ready to roll. You’re the manager of the bunch, so you have a lot of say on the logistical side of things. Make sure your family is prepared for those college tours well in advance, especially if you have some out-of-state stops along the way.
First, think of your availability when it comes to scheduling a college tour. Will it be a day trip, or will it require the whole weekend? How early are you willing to wake up? How far are you willing to drive?
It’s best that you schedule a college tour during the warmer months of the year, such as early fall or late spring, when school is in session. This way, you and your kid will be able to see all the college students in their natural habitat. If summer works better for your schedules, then go for it!
Arrive on Time
The day has come for your family to tour the first college on the list. Arrive on time so that your tour group doesn’t leave you behind. Arriving 15 minutes early would be even better. Nobody likes feeling rushed, so be sure to give your family plenty of time to arrive to the college.
Observe the Students
Visiting a college is almost the same as visiting a zoo. You get to see all of the college students roam to and fro between classes, observe them gather around the dining halls, and then look at the dorms.
Touring a college is a great way for you and your child to get a feel of the overall “vibe” of the campus. Some things to look out for when observing the students includes how they choose to pass time in between classes, the level of diversity, what the culture is like, and how happy they look.
It’s always a good sign to see college students throwing around a frisbee or lounging around on the grass. In the end, your goal is to have your child picture herself going to that college. Can she do it? If so, you’re one step closer to finding the right college.
Ask the Right Questions
A college tour is a great time to clear up any questions you have about the school. Most of the time, tour guides are undergraduate students, so they have plenty of wisdom when it comes to answering your questions. Here are example questions that you can ask:
- What do students do for fun outside of school?
- Can you explain how the meal plans are structured?
- Is it safe for my student to walk around campus at night?
- Which dorms are the best one to live in?
Get to Know the College’s History
During the college tour, be a student of the college’s history. Some universities have been around for almost 200 years, so it’s interesting to learn about the notable alumni that have walked the very same campus you’re walking on right now.
Pay attention to the different statues and old photos you may see during your tour. The historic architecture on some college campuses are simply breathtaking.
Eat at the Dining Halls
Finally, you’ve been walking around for hours, and now it’s time to eat! Many college give parents and their kids the opportunity to eat at the campus dining halls to further get a feel of the college student life.
After getting your fix of all-you-can eat campus food, take the opportunity to discuss with your child how they feel about the school. What do they like? What do they hate? You’re here to help evaluate whether or not a university is the right choice.
Get to Know the Other Families
During your tour, chat with the other families. You’re all in the same boat here, and it never hurts to make friends! The college tour will be a lot more memorable if you socialized with the other parents.
College tours can be fun if you let it! Take a lot of picture with your kid, admire the campus’s beauty, and enjoy the moment. After all, she will be going to college soon. If 18 years can fly by like that, then at least you can savor the time spent with your child during those college tours.