Wednesday, April 21, 2010

College Touring Advice

I've just finished 700 miles of driving with my wife and daughter touring Dartmouth, University of Vermont, Middlebury, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Smith, Mt. Holyoke and Connecticut College. Locally we've already toured Tufts, Brandeis, and Harvard.

It's been a great experience for all, filled with observations about the students (they look really tired or they look like they have a reasonable amount of free time), comparison of the admission officer standard presentations, and a first impression of the culture of each school.

My lesson learned - applying to college in 2010 is nothing like applying to college in 1980. It's much more complicated with many more online resources and an iterative process to find the right fit.

However, the best advice is from the Middlebury Office of Admissions, which published this quick guide for Parents.

10. Remember - the process is not about you.

9. Support and encouragement are more appropriate than pressure and unsolicited advice.

8. Do not use the words "we" or "our" when referring to your child's application process.

7. Help them prepare but let them perform.

6. Encourage your children to make their own college appointments, phone calls and emails.

5. Allow your children to ask the questions.

4. Prepare your children for disappointment.

3. Never complete any portion of the college application for your child.

2. Do not let stereotypes or outdated information steer your child away from schools in which they would otherwise have an interest.

1 . Never, ever, buy a college t-shirt or sweater from the bookstore in your size.

Words to live by.


Anonymous said...

If you're in need of a great program to help your child through the college application process, check out I used it for my daughter and it was incredibly helpful! It even helped us through all the college visits and to figure out the best way to get the most out of the tours. I highly recommend it.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on making it through the trip. Just remember, the same college will feel very different after your daughter has actually been accepted there. So, don't put too much stock in the first round impressions!

LarryF said...

0. Don't visit more than a few schools at one time -- since they all blur together after a while (unless you rate your criteria in real time)....

SayITforHealth said...

Just took the tour about two weeks ago with my daughter. It was great fun traveling with her, although a little melancholy on the trip home knowing that there aren't many of these left. Excellent list from Middlebury- thank you. Walking a few steps behind on these tours, physically and figuratively, seemed to give her enough room to better understand the culture of the campus. She determined that this was more important to her than she thought. Good luck to your daughter.