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Planning Your College Visits

Parents are always asking me when and if they need to visit every college on their child’s list. I’ll be honest with you. The only college I visited was Wash U in St Louis and that’s only because I did a summer program there. I never went on an official college visit until I was already enrolled at Harvard. I do not recommend that!

I have a few helpful tips to make planning your child’s college visits as pain and stress-free as possible (though it won’t be completely stress-free).

Prioritize

You do not have to visit every single school on your child’s list. The only schools you should focus on visiting are the highly competitive dream schools. A college visit to the Ivies demonstrates interest. Remember, these schools only want to accept kids who will enroll, so showing the admissions folks that this is your child’s number 1 pick (whether it actually is or not) is super important.

For the match and safety schools, don’t feel the need to visit. Visiting every school on your child’s list gets very expensive very quickly, so recognize you can say no. If you really want to see the campus for a particular match or safety school, that’s fine, but remember it shouldn’t be the priority.

Schedule for Junior Spring or Senior Fall

Visiting schools freshman or sophomore year may sound like a good idea because your child is less busy, but to really demonstrate interest it’s best to visit near the application season.

One of my students, who is now freshman at Carnegie Mellon, visited his dream schools only a month before applications were due. He wasn’t planning on visiting them at all, but after I discussed the importance of demonstrating interest with him and his parents, they booked trips to his two dream schools.

Sign In

Since the biggest reason to visit your dream schools are to demonstrate to the schools that you will attend if accepted, it’s imperative that you go to an official info session and tour. Registering for them ahead of time is even better. To make it as easy as possible for you, I’ve included some links below so you can register today.

Make the Most out of your Visit

Many dream colleges no longer offer campus interviews, but if the college you’re visiting does do campus interviews, definitely sign up for it. Scheduling meetings and interviews with athletic coaches, professors, and departments is a great way to make the most out of a college visit. Check out this post for tips on how to get these meetings set up.

Students should spend several hours prior to college visits prepping for their interviews with professors, coaches, and admissions officers. This means putting together a list of questions that highlight what they would bring to campus and practicing out loud with other people.

SCHEDULE YOUR COLLEGE VISIT TODAY!

If you’re looking for more help with the application and getting into elite colleges, get my Ultimate Guide to the Common App today!

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