When I was a junior and senior in high school, I got the opportunity to go on several campus tours led by current students who, at the end of the tours, expectantly asked if the other prospective students and I had any questions. My mind somehow drew a blank at this point on every single tour.
Several years later, as a college graduate working for a college prep organization, I got the opportunity to go on several more campus tours with my students, and none of them seemed to be able to think of good questions either!
Because I hope that other students will be able to avoid this deer-in-the-headlights effect during their own college visits, I’ve put together this list of the type of questions that students should ask tour guides and admissions officers.
Questions about Student Life
Many times, campus tours are led by current students who can give you the kind of firsthand information about student life that you can’t get just from reviewing the school’s website or brochure.
Students should consider asking questions like:
Questions about Academics
Of course, you want to have a good quality of life on campus, but you also want to ensure that you’re getting a good education that will help you reach your future career goals.
Consider asking questions like:
Questions about Financial Aid
With the rising costs of college, how to pay for college is something that’s on the minds of plenty of high school students and their parents. The best way to be able to pay for college is to find a school that offers plenty of financial aid, including scholarships and work-study opportunities.
When you visit a college, you may get to attend a talk (or even meet one-on-one) with someone from either the Admissions or Financial Aid office, and if you get that opportunity, you should consider asking some of these questions:
Questions about Graduation
Another extremely important factor to consider when visiting a college is how many students graduate from that school. A college may have brand-new facilities and a bunch of cool-sounding classes, but if their 6-year graduation rate is 20%, that should raise some questions.
Here are some more things you should consider asking an admissions officer or anyone else who works for the college:
Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list of questions that students can ask during a college visit. Students should ask anything that they feel will give them a better sense of the college and what sets it apart from the other schools they are applying to. Asking plenty of questions can help students make a better-informed decision when the time comes to select their college.
This advice for prospective students brought to you by Kendall College.
The post Questions to Ask on a College Visit appeared first on Custom College Visits.
With our son in his final year of high school we are among the ranks of parents trying to keep everything under control as he works his way through the college application and admission maze.
It’s an exciting time but without a doubt, it can also be an extremely stressful time for everyone involved. Custom College Visits was started a bit over four years ago after our daughter went through her college admission process. As we experience it again with our son, I find it is still a multi-year process that seems unnecessarily fraught with pitfalls, uncertainty and way too much planning and preparation left until the spring of our teens’ junior year. You can’t do much about college deadlines or the fact that the Common App is a mess, but even at this point there is much that can be done to take some of the stress off you and your teen.
Gaining acceptance into a selective college is not an easy undertaking for anyone, but having guidelines in place can help. At Custom College Visits we help with that process. Whether the steps include building a list of schools and working through the application process or creating a multi-campus trip itinerary that fits your budget and travel requirements, having guidelines that you and your teen can easily follow will remove stress and keep them on track toward their goal of acceptance at a college of their choice.
Planning the logistics of a multi-campus trip hundreds or thousands of miles away with campus tours, information sessions, meetings, interviews and time to explore on one’s own can be a challenge for the most seasoned trip planner. If you are coming from overseas, it makes it infinitely more complicated. At Custom College Visits, we figure out all the logistics, including drive times from one school to another and the optimal number of schools you might visit depending upon your particular itinerary.
Depending upon your interests and time frame, we can also provide recommendations for accommodations, dining and events in the cities and towns you’ll be visiting.
By the time you’re ready to go, you’ll have a complete itinerary in hand — and the result will be a trip that runs smoothly, allowing you to spend quality time with your son or daughter, helping them to make knowledgeable evaluations and decisions about each campus that you visit.
Where are you and your student in the process? Do you have general or specific questions that you would like to discuss? Are you overseas and don’t know where to start?
Give us a call at (650) 931-4515, send us an email info@customcollegevisits .com or fill out our Contact Us form. We look forward to assisting you.
Thursday September 26 was Mountain Day at my alma mater, Smith College. It is one of those long-standing traditions that students look forward to every fall. Toward the end of September, students wait for that early morning when they will hear the college bell ring, signaling that classes are cancelled and they are free to head outdoors to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. Some stay on campus to enjoy the beauty that surrounds them there – others grab their ‘pack and go’ lunches and head out for bike rides or hikes around the Pioneer Valley. Many use this day to head to the orchards to pick apples and enjoy a glass or two of fresh-pressed cider.
For years, my daughter, who is now as senior at Smith, heard about Mountain Day and so many of the other cherished traditions that helped to make my Smith experience so unique and memorable – Convocation, Rally Day, Julia Child Day and Ivy Day are just a few of them. And these traditions remain a large part of the reason that so many young women today choose to attend Smith College.
Many of the colleges refer to their specific traditions and in their printed materials and on their websites. If your teen is interested in learning more about these traditions, they should take a look at social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter as well as College Prowler and College Confidential. There they will get feedback about these traditions from both current and past students.
When planning college visits, if you have some date flexibility, you might try to visit on a day or weekend when something special is happening. Maybe it’s checking out the Boulevard and tailgating celebrations during home football games at SMU. Or perhaps it’s experiencing the Holiday Celebration and Lighting Ceremony that takes place at Elon University every December. Your teen may want to register online with the colleges and universities that are of interest to them so that they receive email updates and mailings — many times the colleges have open houses and special prospective student days that coincide with these events.
These traditions and special events can help your teen get a strong sense of the atmosphere and culture of the college community.
Since everyone that we spend time with has kids that are either attending college or going through the college search process, many a conversation centered around various college-related topics — choosing a college, life at college, where our kids will choose to live after they graduate, will they go to graduate school, etc.
There was one conversation in particular that prompted my writing about it today. Some good family friends have a daughter that has just started her sophomore year at a private school in Boston. I remember working with her to develop her college list and helping her and her parents with college visits. Now her brother, an eleventh-grader, is going through the same process. He has begun visiting schools and he is beginning to get an idea of what he wants (and doesn’t want) in terms of the size and type of campus. He has toured a couple of schools with his sister, who is eager to give him some input. However, upon hearing some of this input, my friend mentioned to me that she is a bit concerned about what she is telling her younger sibling.
Apparently, her input is along the lines of “that university is terrible; that college isn’t any good; you’d never want to go to that college.” Most of the ones that she is mentioning aren’t even colleges and universities where she has first-hand knowledge. She has not visited most of them and may not know students who attend.
Whatever the reason she feels the way she does about these schools, and while we know she is well-intentioned, she is actually doing her brother a disservice. There is certainly no ‘terrible university’ and in fact, what she considers a ‘terrible university’ may indeed appeal to her brother! They are two entirely distinct human beings that learn differently and have different interests. The schools may not have been the right place for her, but her brother needs to find out for himself what suits him best.
Both siblings and parents need to keep in mind that while there are certain colleges and universities (including legacy institutions) that may or may not appeal to them personally, the college search process is a time for self-exploration. Eventually, this younger sibling may come to the same conclusion and find that certain colleges are not the right fit, but he needs to find that out for himself. And while ultimately certain colleges and universities may not best meet his or her criteria, they may be the right fit for someone else.
Last week LinkedIn announced that they would be changing their terms and will be opening the LinkedIn community to teenagers. Although I believe this is a good move by LinkedIn and will encourage more networking by teens (see my blog post @ http://www.customcollegevisits.com/networking-gives-teens-an-edge/), I do believe that parents, counselors and students need to be somewhat wary of the reasons behind this move.
Please take a moment to read the following excerpt from the Time Magazine article published last week (http://preview.tinyurl.com/ndasow6). ‘The company’s long-term aim with these moves is to upend the college-selection process in the same way it has changed the way people are recruited for new jobs. Deep Nishar, Senior Vice President for Products and User Engagement stated that “his own experience with a teenage daughter currently weighing college choices showed him the need for a more data-driven way to evaluate schools. The current method of combing through thousands of brochures that happen to come through the mail doesn’t do enough to help students find colleges that align with their interests. ‘It’s very untargeted,’ he says. We want to move away from the serendipity of these chance encounters into the science of appropriate life decisions based on the data that you have.’
According to Time, “University Pages offers colleges ways to more carefully target both prospective students and alumni. Messages can be sent to followers of a page based on location, industry or major. ‘In its logical conclusion, colleges can move away from sending glossy brochures and really focus on students that are the best fit for the programs that they have to offer,’ Nishar says.
The path through the college admission process is multi-faceted, complicated and to some, simply overwhelming. It is prime for disruption, but I question how LinkedIn will provide better data to colleges & universities than the information derived from questionnaires that students fill out when they register with College Board and/or complete the questionnaires that accompany the standardized tests such as the ACT and the SAT. Many adult professionals fail in their attempts to create truthful, insightful and relevant LinkedIn Profiles so I am skeptical that students will build profiles that will allow LinkedIn to “carefully target prospective students.”
Like Mr. Nishar, I too look through the mail to see what brochures, postcards and other collateral materials my son receives on a daily basis. And while he does indeed receive information from an abundance of colleges that he is not interested in, I can see why many of them send these materials to him, based on what he has expressed as his academic and athletic interests as well as possible majors. While many times the information does indeed end up in the trash (or on his mother’s desk), just this week he perused an attractive, glossy brochure for a school that he had not considered. He liked what he saw, did some further research, then talked with his college counselor about it – who thought it would be a great school for him to consider.
And while LinkedIn may be able to find those students who they believe are the ‘best fit’ for the programs their college and university clients offer, I don’t believe that, even with all the data in the world, they will be able to predict that this data will automatically translate into the ‘best fit’ for these students. After all, students are human beings – and despite what they might put down on paper or online, they all have different personalities that to this day computer programs cannot accurately assess.
In my humble opinion, life decisions such as choosing an undergraduate college where a student hopes to spend the next four years should be based upon many points, including how your student reacts and responds to the stimuli of being on a particular campus for a visit. All the data points in the world will not and should not replace that experience. There’s nothing more ‘accurate’ than spending time on a college campus meeting with current students, eating in the dining halls, and visiting with athletic coaches and faculty members to get a true feel for the culture of a college campus.
I will encourage my son to create a LinkedIn profile. Not because it will help him find his ‘best fit’ college, but because the connections he will make and retain will be beneficial to his future personal and career endeavors.
What do you think? Will you encourage your teen to create a profile and explore the university pages? We would love your comments.
The post Can LinkedIn disrupt the college admission process? appeared first on Custom College Visits.