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  1. #1
    hillview's Avatar
    hillview is offline Blue Diamond level (20,000+ posts)
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    Default College visits help

    I cannot believe i am even posting this but DS1 is finishing up 10th grade and we are going to go tour a few north east colleges in a couple of months. Any tips or suggestions to remember what he thinks of these? Any pro suggestions appreciated!
    DS #1 Summer 05
    DS #2 Summer 07

  2. #2
    SnuggleBuggles is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Keep a spreadsheet of schools and immediately record their thoughts. Think about size, location, overall vibe, walkability, what activities kids are engaging on campus (obviously more useful if you visit while a regular semester is in session).
    Dine in a dining hall
    YouTube will have a million dorm tours if you want to see more
    Grab a school newspaper and read all the flyers you see. They can be very enlightening
    Know that their first impressions might be great and it seems like you found “the one” but teens sure are fickle sometimes and change their minds.
    But, definitely record any and all feedback ASAP while fresh.


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  3. #3
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    essnce629 is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    You can be like us and take an 8 page document of questions to every college tour!

    Not sure why the formatting looks off, maybe because I'm on my phone. A few questions are specific to DS1.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...t?usp=drivesdk

    We started touring in 10th grade and by the end, with all the in person tours plus multiple online info sessions, interviews, etc we had the majority of questions answered.

    Once he actually applied to schools we created a spreadsheet with all the details that were most important to him personally.

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    Last edited by essnce629; 05-16-2021 at 05:48 PM.
    Latia (Birth & Postpartum Doula and Infant Nanny)
    Conner 8/19/03 (My 1st home birthed water baby!)
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    daisyd is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    I'm following this thread as a parent who is trying to inform herself.

    Latia, thanks a bunch for sharing questions for the college tour. I've flagged it for future reference.

    OP, how exciting that your DS is starting on this journey! Please post your impressions and tips after your DS tours colleges.

  5. #5
    hillview's Avatar
    hillview is offline Blue Diamond level (20,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by essnce629 View Post
    You can be like us and take an 8 page document of questions to every college tour!

    Not sure why the formatting looks off, maybe because I'm on my phone. A few questions are specific to DS1.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...t?usp=drivesdk

    We started touring in 10th grade and by the end, with all the in person tours plus multiple online info sessions, interviews, etc we had the majority of questions answered.

    Once he actually applied to schools we created a spreadsheet with all the details that were most important to him personally.

    Sent from my SM-A515U1 using Tapatalk
    WOW this is amazing thank you
    DS #1 Summer 05
    DS #2 Summer 07

  6. #6
    SnuggleBuggles is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by essnce629 View Post
    You can be like us and take an 8 page document of questions to every college tour!

    Not sure why the formatting looks off, maybe because I'm on my phone. A few questions are specific to DS1.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...t?usp=drivesdk

    We started touring in 10th grade and by the end, with all the in person tours plus multiple online info sessions, interviews, etc we had the majority of questions answered.

    Once he actually applied to schools we created a spreadsheet with all the details that were most important to him personally.

    Sent from my SM-A515U1 using Tapatalk
    Did you really seek out to get those answers on every school you toured? That’s a lot!!!
    Were any of those dealbreakers?
    I feel like a lot of those details are fine to “live and learn” as opposed to using them to make decisions but I know every kid is different. Mine would totally balk at that level of research and just say he’d figure it out when he got there.
    The parent pages (look for both “class of x” and general parents) have been wonderful (for the most part- some unnecessary drama from time to time). Easy to get a quick answer on things like urgent care, what to do when a laptop breaks, best place to order birthday treats from, how to find out what’s going on on campus. I almost always had a ready answer if ds1 had questions about the nitty gritty of campus life. Unless it really is info that would cause you not to attend a school, I would gauge your kiddo’s thoughts on just how much research they want and need to do or if they just want to say, “yeah, I liked it there and I’m sure it’ll be fine”.
    It is a darned impressive questionnaire! It was just overwhelming for me. I’m not sure after 4 years at my alma mater I could have answered lots of those!
    OP Niche is pretty useful as a research tool.


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnuggleBuggles View Post
    Did you really seek out to get those answers on every school you toured? That’s a lot!!!
    Were any of those dealbreakers?
    I feel like a lot of those details are fine to “live and learn” as opposed to using them to make decisions but I know every kid is different. Mine would totally balk at that level of research and just say he’d figure it out when he got there.
    The parent pages (look for both “class of x” and general parents) have been wonderful (for the most part- some unnecessary drama from time to time). Easy to get a quick answer on things like urgent care, what to do when a laptop breaks, best place to order birthday treats from, how to find out what’s going on on campus. I almost always had a ready answer if ds1 had questions about the nitty gritty of campus life. Unless it really is info that would cause you not to attend a school, I would gauge your kiddo’s thoughts on just how much research they want and need to do or if they just want to say, “yeah, I liked it there and I’m sure it’ll be fine”.
    It is a darned impressive questionnaire! It was just overwhelming for me. I’m not sure after 4 years at my alma mater I could have answered lots of those!
    OP Niche is pretty useful as a research tool.


    Sent from my iPhone using Baby Bargains
    I have to agree that Latia's list of questions is very impressive and I don't think I or DS1 could answer a lot of those questions for the school he's starting at in the fall! And yes, the FB parent page has been very useful for answering all kinds of questions that one wouldn't necessarily contact the school to ask.
    Mommy to 2 DS's (2003 and 2007)

  8. #8
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    Agree with PPs.
    That’s an amazing list! I agree to write everything down immediately and also take lots of pics so you can remember what’s what, like the size of the dorms. We went back to the notes when deciding. For DS he hardly had any in person visits due to Covid, but one huge benefit is that now everything is online so it was easy to do info sessions and virtual live tours.

    You also have to know your kid’s personality. DS was definitely on the lazy (well probably also totally overwhelmed) side so he would never do that research. TBH, I’m the one who took most of the notes initially. I opened a note in my notes app for each college. I had asked him to make a spreadsheet but I don’t think he did- my dd had made a weighted spreadsheet and ranked the top choices based on the importance of each factor.
    We looked for dealbreakers for his unique situation, like a college that allows double majors and a senior thesis, and we narrowed it down that way.
    Once he got into some of the top choices, we did more research re. The environment, clubs, culture, and academic offerings, etc. Again, it was mostly me and I relayed the information to him. He did do some research but he’s had an Incredibly busy senior year irt his activities and the college app process was left until the last minute. Ugh. But it all worked out. Phew..

    I also looked at blogs - I looked up certain activities he has been involved in for years and hopes to continue to see if there was info. about them and how they were run, and I could really tell a lot about the culture of the colleges just by doing that.
    I signed up for the fb pages. You can also stalk the Instagram profiles lol
    I agree about student newspapers, etc. and once they get in, see if you can join the parent group. One uni he considered allowed that and I was able to ask questions and look up previous discussions to gauge the culture. The parents were very helpful and one even offered to call me to discuss our situation. DS also spoke to current students who we found through DD’s network. I think it’s important to talk directly to parents and current students, if you can, to get the honest scoop. For things like classes and majors, AP credits, etc you can ask the college directly.

    Here is a complex decision matrix. I had dreams of my child completing this, but needless to say he wanted nothing to do with it.
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...#gid=334754920

  9. #9
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    This information is also useful if they have to write a “why us” essay for the college during the application process. Several of their colleges required that and weighed it heavily as they are looking for fit and demonstrated interest.

  10. #10
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    Thanks so much for posting your list. I will definitely be pulling questions off of there to bring once we start doing formal tours. My DS is a junior and we've just been doing self guided tours and virtual sessions due to COVID. Looks like some of the schools are starting to have in person tours again, so we may go back to the ones he liked armed with questions. Just doing the self guided tours has really helped narrow the search though. He has a top three. I'd like for him to find at least two more he'd like to apply to.

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