Who should come with you on college visits?

As part our College Q & A guide, we decided to ask your questions to the experts. Here are their answers.

Angela Conley,  College Admission Expert, VentureForth

The answer here lies in your personal situation. Many kids have no families or guardians. Others garner annual college tours and visits via organizations or school districts. The question is not should but how to make the most of any visit regardless of those accompanying you. If you can’t make “in-person” visits, use websites offering “virtual” visits. If your parents must accompany, take advantage of the option some colleges provide to complete the tour apart from your family. It is my observation, having chaperoned many college tours, students who visit with students gain a surer sense of their interest most mitigating their assessment of a given college or university. Despite who may, or may not accompany you, please do visit so as to make an informed choice about the kind and caliber of academic setting you seek.

Rebecca Joseph, Executive Director & Founder, getmetocollege.org

If you are visiting a campus far from home, it’s ideal to go with a parent. Your parent can go on the the tour and info session with you and then disappear for the rest of your visit. Parents are great at arranging tours and coordinating how many schools you can see during a trip. They can also rent cars and help with travel arrangementse. Sometimes, they help to remember things on a campus visit and to ask some helpful questions. If not, go with a friend. But remember, to get to your appointments on time and visit all kinds of great places on campus. Take some time to explore the neighborhood around the college and even visit the dorms. ALWAYS take notes so you can use them later on in the campus process.

Wendy Andreen, PhD College & Career Planning

A parent (or both), guardian, or close relative who participates in your life should be part of your college visit. This is not the time to keep them at arms length. I’ve seen students who are experiencing temporary ‘teenage angst issues’ and think they don’t need their parents’ help. I’ve also seen well-intentioned but overbearing parents who think they know best which college their child should attend. Parents, please don’t push your alma mater on your student. Visiting colleges should be a positive and open-minded experience – for everyone. Enjoy the tour, listen to the admissions officer’s presentation, but take time to wander around on your own. Parents – resist the urge to ask all of the questions. Take time before you get to campus to review questions as a family and students, YOU, ask the questions. Let the parent quietly take notes in the background. Take your own pictures – always helpful after visiting several campuses to have some visual reminders. I ask students to be brave and ask at least two questions of some random students (tour guide is ok but ask someone who is not the ‘ambassador’ for the college): 1. What made you decide to attend this college? 2. What do you wish you had known about this college before you got here (or, what don’t you like)? College students are generally very honest and willing to answer prospective students’ questions. Enjoy the journey! Consider the possibilities!

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