What Your Student Should Do When Visiting Campus—And How to Make The Most of It
The college visit is more than just a right of passage; it’s an important step in dictating the direction of your child’s education and figuring out your needs before your campus tour is imperative to a constructive time on campus.
Higher education is an exciting prospect, and many students are eager to rush into the next stage in their lives (and young adulthood). It’s important as a parent to help them slow down, take a step back, and recognize what they actually want out of their college or university experience.
College is an important step in education, so make the most out of your campus visits
Our team of college counselors put together a few tips to aid you in your child's college visit—and beyond.
Higher education is for those who wish to develop a specialization in the workforce, further their education, and experience a transitional period between K-12 and the workforce. Higher education is seen more and more as a necessary life experience that opens the doors to a larger variety of professional opportunities.
The most important factor in deciding on college is whether or not it is right for your child. With an expensive investment comes intentional planning, and it’s important to have an idea of what your child will use their degree for, and why they want one. When you’ve landed on the reasoning, choosing a school to support your child’s goals will be much easier.
Don’t forget, visiting a college allows for a more informed opinion, so don’t set your sights on a single school. Shop around. Take some time to figure out multiple options and visit as many as possible to get a true sense of what your student wants out of their higher education.
Have many conversations
Taking the time to speak to your child about their interests and desires is going to help you shape their college career for the better. Use your student’s intentions as a guide to any campus visit, virtual tour, or open house you might attend. Use this information about what they expect from a college visit experience to help them to assess the campus and discuss options.
What to Consider on Your Campus Visit
The most important aspect of college is the degree itself. Your child’s work is going toward a specialization that will be used to leverage career options throughout their life. Before any campus tour, sit down with your student and discuss their intentions.
If your child is into sports, the facilities they’ll train at are going to be a big part of their lives. If they’re into music, practice areas and local opportunities are going to be huge. If your child is on a science track, the quality of lab access and equipment in each course will dictate the quality of education they experience.
Before committing to any college visit, develop questions that pertain to your student’s exact needs. What kind of facilities are available to promote your child’s growth? What kind of access to tutoring is offered? Are there social clubs or extracurriculars that match your student’s interests?
These are the kinds of questions you should brainstorm before meeting your tour guide. A great way to develop these questions beforehand is to schedule a call with an admissions counselor before going on any guided campus tour. This way, you and someone with knowledge of the school can navigate your student’s needs. This will also give you a taste for the office of admissions your student will be dealing with throughout their collegiate career.
During any campus visitation, take note of how students are living and what kind of activities they have access to. Your child’s interests outside of academics will be just as important, as this is a place they will spend formative years of their life.
Although the social element of college may not be at the forefront of reasoning, something as simple as not enjoying a residence hall can make a significant impact on your student's daily life. This is a place they will live, learn, and grow. That means it needs to support their ideals and interests, and nurture both their academic journey and happiness in their social life. Understanding how other students spend their time on campus should heavily inform your decision.
Consider what your child will excel the most with; are they interested in cities or college towns? Do they want a campus that cherishes athletics? The arts? Our surroundings can help us flourish, but they can also hold us back.
If your child loves nature, a New York City campus might stunt their development and happiness along the way. The same goes for the opposite. If your child thrives within the busy life of a city, a small campus close to hiking trails won’t provide them a space to thrive. Virtual visits provide plenty of information, but visiting the campus itself will provide a true idea of the experience..
Find out what current students are into, and make sure you ask questions on your guided tour, look for information sessions, and consult with student ambassadors to get an understanding of how the campus is structured.
College-prep goes beyond coursework at Laurel Springs School
The members of our counseling department feel privileged to be part of our full-time students’ journeys, collaborating with them to help them reach their full potential. Each upper school student and family is assigned a college counselor who remains with them through graduation. Available support services include one-on-one counseling sessions, targeted communications with valuable resources related to upper school, college, and career success, and live webinars on subjects such as selecting the right college, standardized test preparation, application assistance, and scholarship and financial aid resources. The counseling department also sponsors and supports school-wide events, including opportunities to engage with college and career related representatives.
Upper School students enroll in and complete a required grade-level specific Seminar course each school year working and in communication directly with their college counselors who serve as the teachers for the courses. The partnership between college counselors, students, and their families fosters rich relationships that contribute to our students’ growth and achievements.
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