The Criteria for Your College Tour

Philip Rosenau |

What should you look for, and what may matter most?

How can you get the most out of a college visit? A well-rehearsed student guiding you around campus won’t tell you everything. You and your child should strive to take additional steps.

Head to the financial aid office. If your student has a financial aid award letter, this may be the right time to start negotiating a financial aid package. The visit may also help you discover some new scholarship prospects.

Go to the career services office. Ask about internship opportunities for your son or daughter’s major and where graduates are landing jobs.

Talk to unrehearsed undergrads. In particular, find students who are majoring in what your child wants to study in order to see what they think of their professors and the curriculum.

Try to get a look at the dorms and the off-campus area. What kind of vibe do you get from the dorms? Tour the adjacent neighborhood—is it boring, dingy, rowdy?

After your college tour, set your immediate thoughts aside and let your student’s opinions about the schools you visited emerge and evolve.

You can plan ahead and save money and time by taking some virtual campus tours online or calling financial aid or career services offices rather than visiting them—that may narrow down the field. Be sure to keep planning ahead for your own future.


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