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Is it too early to be looking into colleges?

ATHEOMATHEOM 38 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Hello, I'm a high school freshman.
My parents have been taking me to campus tours of colleges since 8th grade. They keep egging me to remember everything, so I can decide what college I would go to in the future. I know their intentions are for my well being, but in my opinion I think it's too early to be looking into colleges in the first year of high school.

Thanks for all of your responses!
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Replies to: Is it too early to be looking into colleges?

  • thumper1thumper1 74784 replies3278 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Try to view these as just visits to a nice place. At some point, there actually might be a college that you really like. You never know.

    How are they choosing these colleges?

    We wanted our kids to see a large school, small school, public university, private, urban, rural, suburban. Just to,see the different kinds of colleges.

    But until they had a better idea of what THEY wanted, had SAT scores, and had a few niremHS courses added to,their GPA, we couldn't get more specific.



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  • ATHEOMATHEOM 38 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Mainly they're taking me to the main colleges, like Yale, MIT, and other good ones. I've also been to Rice University, which is a pretty good university. I guess it was just get a main idea of college life.

    Thanks a lot!
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Haha. Those aren't the "main colleges". There are something like 4,000 colleges in the US. 99.999% of students don't go to those schools.

    They are probably trying to inspire you to work hard. That is fine, I guess. If they insist on visits, you might suggest seeing your state flagship and a liberal arts college, just to get a flavor for each. That might help you when you actually are visiting in earnest, which is more of a junior year activity once you have grades, test scores, and finances more clearly laid out.

    Keep your head on straight. A few reach schools like that are fine, but it is actually harder to find match and safety schools that you like and can afford. Spending a lot of time visiting reach schools is not very productive.
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  • ATHEOMATHEOM 38 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Okay that helps a lot. Thanks so much
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 38417 replies2104 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    I inspired my sons when they were young by taking them to the UT-Austin campus. The highlight of the trip was when an employee saw us peering through the window into the closed bowling alley, and let us in for a private tour. :) The man told them, "If you want to get into this school, you need to work really hard and make good grades!"
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  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School 3338 replies12 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited January 2017
    We started in 10th grade and ended up visiting about 30 campuses. We worked the visits into our vacation schedule. Take lots of notes and photos, ask questions of the students, sample the food, and ask them what they are studying and what the social life is like. We were pretty early in our peer group, but depending on your interests you will have less time than you think. After about 10 visits you will quickly decide if you like the school based on 'feel' My son immediately excluded MIT and Caltech because of the stress levels (he's pretty laid back) and loved other ones. Most families start looking in 11th grade ; by that time you will have a good idea of your HS GPA and ACT/SAT, and possibly an idea of what you want to study so you can build your visit list.
    edited January 2017
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  • ATHEOMATHEOM 38 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I'm considering UT Austin as a choice because I live near that area. I guess I need to find something to inspire to go ta specific college. Like what intparent said, it'll be difficult for me to actually find a college that's affordable and I like.
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  • ATHEOMATHEOM 38 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks a lot. I guess I should get started in freshman year, when it isn't as busy as the rest of high school.
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  • engineer4lifeengineer4life 356 replies66 threadsRegistered User Member
    I wouldn't do it if you aren't enjoying it. Tell your parents no.

    Many don't start looking for college until Junior or Senior year.
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  • NASA2014NASA2014 2332 replies129 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I wouldn't. Maybe you can check out their websites and see what looks good
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  • ClaremontMomClaremontMom 2365 replies41 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think most kids start in junior year...some in sophomore. I wouldn't be pushing you as a freshman (and certainly not in 8th grade!).
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  • PengsPhilsPengsPhils 3990 replies28 threadsForum Champion Northeastern, Forum Champion Math/Computer Science Forum Champion
    Yeah, wait until second semester sophomore year at least in my opinion.
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  • CathJRCathJR 390 replies35 threadsRegistered User Member
    I started at the end of my sophomore year, and that was more because my parents were like "we're in this city far from home so we may as well do it now." I did have a friend who scolded me for not doing all my tours freshman year, but he is the only person I have known personally to say that. I also visited a school at the beginning of junior year, stayed with friends, and the kids I met there said I was crazy to start in the beginning of my junior year.

    Personally, I think you are such a different person freshman year then you are junior/senior year. You most likely will want different things than you do now. While it may be informative to go on tours now, I don't think it helps to much. For most of my earlier tours it's hard to remember specifics of what I experienced while on campus so it didn't really help when deciding where to apply. If you feel undue pressure from tours I would stop. There are plenty of three day weekends and breaks and time during the summer to do tours in a year or two. You also don't have to visit every school you apply to. I didn't. Unless you go ED, then definitely visit, but that's for the future. Freshman year you should just be focused on spending time with friends and doing well in school, setting you up well for applications. Good luck!
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  • NitikSNitikS 105 replies28 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    The most colleges I visited were in 8th Grade
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  • jennacwajennacwa 467 replies12 threadsRegistered User Member
    I started in the beginning of junior year and wish I had started earlier.
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  • compmomcompmom 10762 replies76 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited January 2017
    I think this is too early, yes. While some parents (and schools) feel that college visits inspire hard work during high school, I think it is unhealthy to spend high school doing things so that you get into college. In other words, you should work hard to learn, and so you can function well in the world, not for college admissions. If everything you do is for some future external goal like college admissions, you lose the kind of authentic inner motivation that really makes life fulfilling.

    Try to enjoy high school life, explore academic and extracurricular interests, learn about yourself as you grow, make friends, try to be a good person. I think the time to bring up college is the second half of junior year, but that's me.

    It sounds like your parents are keen on you going to a prestigious school like an Ivy. I hope they learn about all the wonderful schools out there. I love the Colleges that Change Lives website (and book). But I'll leave that to you to look at in a couple of years : )
    edited January 2017
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  • moooopmoooop 2205 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited January 2017
    Where you can get in & how much scholarship $ you will be get are dependent on your top Act or SAT score, which you probably won't achieve until junior or early senior year. By then it's too late to see many schools. I say see as many as soon as u can, so when your qualifications start to solidify, you will already have quite a few schools in that range. Also, if u see a lot early, it will give u an opportunity to see some of the more likely ones a second time, perhaps in a different season, which gives you a much better feeling for them.

    We visited close to 50 schools (mostly in the Northeast & South) with our 2 kids. They are a year apart, and neither one ended up at a school we visited, because they both ended up getting surprisingly good aid from universities in a part of the country that wasn't on our radar until senior year (Midwest). But the visits we made were a lot of fun (we kept the visits short: strolling around, not doing the official tours & presentations, which are tedious & repetitive from the ones we experienced near home).
    edited January 2017
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  • mathmommathmom 32373 replies159 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It's too early to be making any real decisions. My younger son swears he'd have worked harder if he'd known how nice Yale was. (He never saw it because neither his scores nor grades were good enough when we started visits junior year.) He'd seen a few colleges via summer camps, our alma mater at two reunions, and in 8th grade he got dragged along on his big brother's college tour. Try to humor your parents, it's hard to strike the right balance!
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  • ParticlezParticlez 10 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    way too early you dont want all that extra stress especially when starting HS. For now just worry about getting good grades and enjoy your time in HS. Make friends join a lot of clubs and good grades, that'll help you more than looking for one rigth now.
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  • Sportsman88Sportsman88 1571 replies13 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think there is a big difference in a college tour as a freshman and "We're in Boston on vacation. Let's tour Harvard or MIT."

    It is definitely not too early to look at UT's requirements and work towards them. How many foreign languages? GPA?
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