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Summer visits-where are you headed, any tips?

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Replies to: Summer visits-where are you headed, any tips?

  • natty1988natty1988 593 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 601 Member
    @BmacNJ Sounds good! Thanks for sharing all this info! I'll pass it along to our friend.
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  • bloomfield88bloomfield88 100 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 100 Junior Member
    For open-minded parents, a good summer trip is to take freshman and younger kids to a big state uni, a big private uni, a medium sized private uni, a small liberal arts college, a religious college and a taste of the different city, suburban, country environments.

    We did that the summer before my eldest entered 9th grade. She was invited to fly to a basketball tournament in SoCal. During some downtime at the tournament, I drove all three kids (entering 6th, 7th and 9th grades) to USC, UCLA, the 5 Cs (Pomona, Claremont McKenna, etc), Pepperdine, UC San Diego and then rounded off what was missing on that trip by visiting a couple of local colleges in our area when we returned home.

    Warning: NEVER take an impressionable youngster to Pepperdine. As we pulled up to the security gate, my soon to be 9th grader said, "I am pretty sure this is the college for me." The 7th grader chimed in, "Yes, me too Papa."

    I retorted, "You didn't even meet the security guard, let alone step foot on the campus or even know a single thing about this university."
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  • natty1988natty1988 593 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 601 Member
    edited April 23
    Some people on this thread have mentioned that visiting schools on the weekend or summer break is harder because not much is going on. We had luck visiting Univ. of San Diego and UC San Diego with D over her winter break at the end of January her junior year, both these schools were in session then. We also toured some schools for S over his spring break and all the colleges we toured were in session, their spring breaks were either before or after our S's school's spring break....College and high school vacations and days off are not always the same. Check to see when fall, winter, and spring breaks are scheduled at colleges...also keep in mind Christmas break at colleges is much longer then high school.


    Also, does anyone else's high school offer their own college tours? Our school does..they usually do one to the East Coast and sometimes the Midwest. They've also added tours to the Bay Area and Pacific Northwest (due to popular demand). The parents do have to pay for these trips and they're not super cheap. The college counselors and a few other teachers go as chaperones. From my D's class about 8 kids went. From my S's class about 5 went. I know some years they don't do the trips because there isn't enough interest..they cancel the trips if less then 4 kids sign up. If anyone's school offers these they could be way for your kid to get a visit in, if you can't take them yourself. But, there are cheaper ways to go and tour colleges. Our kids never went, primarily because it was way too expensive and they weren't interested in the any of the schools on the tour. Most of the schools they visit are the super selective ones...our kids aren't in that range.
    edited April 23
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  • Sue22Sue22 6092 replies106 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,198 Senior Member
    One problem with taking group trips is that they can result in group think. IOW, if your kid is touring with a kid for whom your kid’s match schools are likelies they can turn your kids off to perfectly wonderful schools. A well chaperoned trip with cooperative kids can put safeguards in place to avoid this but without being there it’s hard to know if kids are gossiping about schools and the kinds of kids who attend them.
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  • natty1988natty1988 593 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 601 Member
    @Sue22 very good point! That's why I'm secretly glad my kids didn't go on these trips!
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  • natty1988natty1988 593 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 601 Member
    A tip for those doing visits to schools out west...lots of great national parks to stop at...my stepbrother and his family visited Montana State and University of Montana on a trip to Yellowstone...
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  • bearcatfanbearcatfan 1138 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,150 Senior Member
    edited April 26
    I feel like I just answered in this thread for my 2018 graduate, and here I am again for my 2021 graduate. Time flies!

    We are not doing a lot of visits this summer because she's a sophomore. But, we hope to visit one school she is very interested in because of two particular majors - the University of Akron. Not a household name on this forum, but very good for what she wants to study. I have a ton of cousins in Akron, and spend a lot of my childhood visiting, so it's almost like a second home to me.

    There is not a lot on the forum about UA, so if anyone has any thoughts feel free to PM me.
    edited April 26
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  • sflawyermomsflawyermom 2 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2 New Member
    How to start putting a list together to tour? Where to begin?
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  • kanflykanfly 36 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    Hi @sflawyermom, tell me more about your kid--year in HS, types of school they want, etc... We started relatively early. When we traveled to a city, we would take the time to look at the school there so we didn't have to make a special trip.
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  • ASKMotherASKMother 187 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 188 Junior Member
    @sflawyermom we knew that our D18 was interested in both STEM (chemistry) but also teaching (2ndary Ed); she wanted a college with students more focused on academics than football scores (wasn't opposed to basketball), size wasn't a huge factor but wanted larger than her high school but not so large she would just be a number. We (the parents footing the bill) needed schools that offered good merit and/or need-based aid (because we failed in the saving for college dept... mainly because we are middle class and preferred to pay the mortgage and utilities - so selfish), and we wanted her close enough that we could drive to get her in a day if there was a major issue but she was desperate to be out of state. All that being said... I made a list of schools that met that criteria, and mapped a driving trip the spring break of her junior year where we visited 10 schools in 6 days from SC to DC ... mostly doing 2 schools a day (which really isn't hard or exhausting). She kept the journal with her thoughts and critique of each while I drove to the next school or city. I was not only a magical trip for us as mother/daughter but a great way to see colleges first hand... some schools on paper didn't hold up in person and others that she thought 'why did mom add this one' ended up being top choices. It took a little planning but well worth the time, mileage and cheap hotels! If you want to know our itinerary let me know
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  • momocarlymomocarly 821 replies7 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 828 Member
    We ended up doing a visit the week before college started and that was a great time. A lot of kids were back on campus so we got a good feel for the place, hs hadn't started yet, and there weren't many visitors. Ended up being the first of three visits to the school he ended up at. Just something to think about.
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  • natty1988natty1988 593 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 601 Member
    Another thing to keep in mind on tours (if I already posted this I apologize)..make sure to find out ahead of time where on campus you're supposed to go for the info session and tour and where you're supposed to park. You don't want to be late because you're wandering around lost. That said, allow extra time in case you do get lost or have trouble finding where you're supposed to go. Another reason to allow extra time is due to the fact that you may have park a ways away from where the tour starts. At one school we had to park in a structure that was a 10 min walk from the meeting point..
    Just some stuff to keep in mind..
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  • sflawyermomsflawyermom 2 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2 New Member
    Not much info yet on what she wants. She's a current Sophomore. Very artsy, theater-focused, but doesn't want to necessarily focus on theater in college, those are just sort of "her people". Also interested in science, writing and education. She hasn't given it all much thought yet, just not sure where to begin. Thinking of schools on the smaller side, definitely close to a big city, or schools with a liberal bent. We live in Nor Cal, possibly going to do spring break trip in New York next year, so thought we'd see some schools at the same time. She's sort of a stresser/anxious so trying not to put too much pressure on her one way or another.
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  • chb088chb088 931 replies31 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 962 Member
    We had several good summer visits last summer...UPENN, UVA, Georgetown, and Villanova. This summer it’s probably just Va Tech. D20 is in a 6 week summer program so there’s not much time.
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  • Rivet2000Rivet2000 980 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 982 Member
    We'll be in close to Georgetown this summer. Any recommendations?
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  • marrastmarrast 63 replies7 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 70 Junior Member
    edited May 22
    We made a habit, starting when our oldest was in the ninth grade, of visiting universities when on vacation: San Francisco (Cal Berkeley), NYC (Columbia), Los Angeles (UCLA), and so forth and so on. One summer we took an intensive school visit trip and saw nearby historical attractions when visiting colleges: UVA (Monticello), W&M (Williamsburg), Wake Forest (Old Salem), etc. I think this helped the children in discerning schools and also broke up the monotony of a visit intensive schedule for younger brother.
    edited May 22
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  • SilverGrassSilverGrass 27 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
    How do you suggest to tour 5Cs? Many info sessions overlap and we don't have days to spend in So CA. We don't need to see all five, but even three doesn't seem to be possible in one day. How have you done; any suggestions?
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  • ItisatruthItisatruth 269 replies22 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 291 Junior Member
    @SilverGrass Speaking as someone who lived in Claremont for 10 years: Choose 2 of the 5 to visit in one day. Before, in between, and after, walk around the other 3. The colleges are *really* different from each other. For most students, it should be clear which 2 are the best fit.
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  • cypresspatcypresspat 159 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 164 Junior Member
    Apologies if I am repeating advice from others, but the most important thing we (eventually) figured out was what my s20 cares about learning/seeing. He went bonkers sitting and listening to general presentations of material which was on the college’s website. After hearing him mutter ‘I could have given that presentation’ after each of the first three schools, we stopped doing any of those and instead sought out opportunities for him to learn only about the dept. (or in a big university, the college) he is interested in. In his case, it is engineering. Once we figured that out, he’s been a much happier camper. As long as he can view the engineering facilities, through the tour or otherwise, and get a good understanding of any nuances of the curriculum and how the school approaches minors and undergraduate research and such, he’s good. The majority of our visits include walks through the halls of the department to check out the research posters and things like that. He’s weird.

    So far, we have toured UCLA (fantastic job by our engineering tour guide), USC (general presentation only, superficial, should have done the engineering tour, but we were newbies then), UCSB (son not thrilled, however I was so taken by that campus I will be attending in the Fall of 2020 - I WISH), UCSD (very poorly executed presentation and tour), U of Miami (Ohio) (well done!), U if Michigan (okay, I get it. U of M is the best university in the world); U of Rochester (engineering presentation got my son’s wheels turning, big time; had to peel him out of the labs); and Cornell (just magnificent; no other word will do).

    Next....OSU (this is what I am rooting for! Go Bucks!), Vanderbilt, Northwestern And Notre Dame.

    Some of these schools are on his list, some are parent picks.

    The Fall has a few more on deck, as his list his evolving as he learns more...but all of the potential ED picks are scheduled or done and will be vetted by Aug 1, when the Fall sport begins and the first app (safeties go first) can be prepped for the send button.

    One thing which has not changed, at all, through all of the tours, is what he focuses on. He pays no attention to the look and feel of the campus; the other students could be from Mars for all he cares. Dorms - zippo concern. Student activities (no matter, he will find something he likes); urban/suburban/rural - who cares? Weather? It is only four years, I can take anything for four years. Okay, he cares about the hockey rink, but that’s pretty much it.

    We thought that seeing such hugely different schools would make him think about quality of life issues. Nope. Not one bit.


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  • homerdoghomerdog 4705 replies87 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,792 Senior Member
    Wow. Lots of you guys visiting tons of reaches. We vowed not to do that and only visited matches and safeties (with the exception of one school - the one he got super lucky to get in since they had a 7% RD acceptance rate). I would not suggest visiting a bunch of reaches since they often look "better" to kids than schools that are matches or safeties for them and could easily result in the student having a hard time liking their safer schools. I mean, sure, Cornell is magnificent but will they get in?
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