It’s time for back to school–and with the approach of that important season, it’s also important to start making some critical plans for the year. Do you have a child entering their junior or senior year of high school? If so, this could be the perfect time to start planning college visits. Your child is nearing a decision about those important college years–and college visits are a key part of making those decisions.
When Should You Schedule College Visits?
If your child will be headed into their junior year of high school, you might want to take a look at the college’s schedule and plan for a visit in the early spring. On the other hand, if it’s time for your child’s senior year, you may want to dive in during August or September. By checking out colleges early in the year, your child will have plenty of time to make an informed decision about what college is right for them.
What Should You Seek to Accomplish During a College Visit?
During a college visit, your child will have a chance to walk around campus and take a look at the overall environment. This is a great time to discover whether the school has the right “feel” for them. Are there activities going on around campus that are of interest to your student? What about the people you connect with as you tour the school: is it an environment where your child feels comfortable and excited? That doesn’t mean, however, that you should just wander around the campus. During your college visits, make some of these items a priority.
Meet with the department chair connected with your major
Before the visit, schedule a meeting with the department chair for your student’s major. Give your student a chance to meet them and ask any questions they might have about the program. The department chair isn’t just the most knowledgeable member of the department. They’re also the one who sets the tone for the department–and taking the time to meet them can tell your child quickly whether they’ve chosen the right college.
Check out the campus eating opportunities
If the freshman dining plan primarily revolves around the dining hall, make sure you check it out with your student. Terrible food can make for a terrible semester, especially if you aren’t prepared ahead of time with other eating opportunities.
Visit the student health center
Does the campus offer a free gym available to students? What about a swimming pool? Are there times when those facilities are blocked off by specific teams and events or are they generally widely available? If your student is hoping to avoid the freshman fifteen, the health center s is a great way to help make that happen.
Take a walk through the building where you’ll spend most of your time
There’s a good chance that your campus will have a specific building where most of your major classes are located. Take a walk through the building. Take a look at the classrooms or the seating arrangements. In some cases, you may even be able to sit in on a class or two to get a feel for what classes will be like when your student is ready to start college.
Ask about any accommodations your student will need
While your student may not have an IEP in college, if they needed one in high school, they may still need accommodations in college. Check into what accommodations are available on campus and what help your child can expect.
Get a look at the freshman dorms. It’s where your student will be living for at least a year if they choose to live on campus.
Ask them what they love most about the campus and what they like least. If possible, have a chat with students who share a major with your child.
Scheduling your college visit? Keep some of these tips in mind:
- Remember that the campus tour isn’t just for show. It’s also a great way to learn more about what the campus has to offer.
- Every student may benefit from visiting at least 5-6 college campuses if scheduling and funds allow.
- Try to save your student’s first choice school for the last visit. This will allow your whole family to get better at the “college visit” process and help you learn to ask the right questions.
- Allow your student some time to walk around campus on their own. They’ll be here without you before you know it–and they need a chance to get their feet under them on their own.
Are you getting ready to plan college visits for your high school student? Looking for ways to improve your child’s last couple of years of high school? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you set up a better senior year for your student.