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Summer visits-where are you headed, any tips?


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

  • momtogkcmomtogkc Registered User Posts: 596 Member
    @nehiker My dad and brother are Bates alums. My brother almost died when I took D to see Bowdoin. :)) Luckily I made up for it by taking my then 16 year old daughter into the Blue Goose and got the bartender to take the (very dusty) goose down for a picture when we toured Bates!

    We planned on doing a few tours this summer but the plans fell apart. I wanted to go to VA to see Richmond and W&M but decided to wait so D19 could see Richmond with kids there. She thinks it will be too small but hasn't seen a school that size yet (only much smaller and much bigger) so I thought it would be better to see what 3,000 really looks like. Still may do BC & BU when we are on vacation next week but it is hard to squeeze in a day when we are visiting friends & family. D originally said she didn't want a city school, a religious school or anything too freezing but all of a sudden she decided the allure of Boston might sway her!
  • ItisatruthItisatruth Registered User Posts: 235 Junior Member
    @bobo44 That's so funny, just shows how different schools work for different kids! Macalester was the only one on our trip that D16 is definitely keeping on the list. She really liked St Olaf too. We had a great tour guide @ UW-Wisconsin, and then I also went on the housing tour later in the day which was helpful and impressive. D16 knew right away though that a school that size was not for her.
  • ItisatruthItisatruth Registered User Posts: 235 Junior Member
    @drewsmom17 This kid liked but didn't love Carleton - the quirky nerd vibe isn't a fit for her though her older sister loved it and applied. Feels similar to Pomona, Swat, Amherst. The more laid-back, crunchier vibe of Mac (while still super academically rigorous) was more spot on. I loved Carleton -- very impressed by everything we saw and heard.
  • kwitsupkwitsup Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Just tuning in to College Confidential & thankful to have stumbled upon it! My daughters and I have visited Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Northwestern, UChicago, Notre Dame, Wash U, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Yale & MIT. I agree that the tour guide can absolutely make or break a visit! We have found that many tour guides speak to parts of campus that would not at all yet appeal to a high school student. I have been surprised many times by schools that seemingly want to "sell" their school in a tour! So very few of them actually showed a residence hall - I think we've seen only 3 in all of the schools I listed. Some tours were lead by a student who just finished their first year (and wasn't really able to answer many questions), and many were rising seniors. Within one week this summer, we were one of only 4 families in one school's tour group, and were in a group of well over 100 people with only one student for the entire visit day (we could honestly not hear anything on the tour!). Some tour guides have used a personal microphone, intentionally walk backwards and will wait until all visitors are close to begin speaking, and some tour guides face away from the group and walk toward the front of the group without even waiting to let a loud vehicle or lawn mower pass by the group. Regarding information sessions, we never skip it. My daughter and I both take notes (because I know we will hear different things) to listen for "buzz words" used by the presenter and what sets each school apart. I have been surprised at the number of schools who try to "sell" their schools to families in such odd conditions - one was in a large (beautiful) chapel, but they used no microphone or sound system and had no visual presentation at all. Sitting in the middle of the chapel, we could not hear ANYthing. Some presentations are much more of a sales pitch - nice rooms, comfortable seats, free swag, visual presentation to go along with the speaker's words.

    Here are my suggestions:
    Come prepared with questions that aren't answered in the presentation. Focus on questions that apply to everyone, and save "personal" questions for when the speaker says he or she will hang around for a few extra minutes.
    Choose a guide that is an upperclassman, if possible. They just know more.
    Choose a guide that is either the same major your child is interested in or is involved in similar activities.
    Use the bathroom before leaving for the tour.
    Take lots of pics to remember the campus and presentations. After a while, they certainly begin to blend together in one's memory.
    Take notes during the presentation. Listen for buzz words used & repeated in their presentation. My daughter will most certainly be using those same concepts in her essays.
    Pay attention to who the person is that is presenting. It's nice to be able to follow up by a email with that same person if you come up with questions after.
    Bring an umbrella! We have been caught in a storm a few times unprepared.
    Wear good walking shoes - some tours and campuses are larger than I expected!
    As you walk around, try to stay near the front of the group. It's just easier to hear.

    We have a couple more schools on the list, but my daughter has learned a whole lot about what her priorities are as we await application deadlines. We're actually going back for a second visit to her #1 choice in a couple weeks to make sure she loves it as much as she remembers. Good luck in the process!
  • hebegebehebegebe Registered User Posts: 2,543 Senior Member
    You are far more likely to see a residence hall during the school year than during the summer. During summer, they are often filled with high school and middle school students attending camps at the college. Security is therefore tighter, as they want to limit access to those younger kids by outsiders.
  • blessed101blessed101 Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    We visited UCLA & USC along with our little one as vacation + college visit.
    It was very nice, but too much walking.
  • drewsmom17drewsmom17 Registered User Posts: 287 Junior Member
    @Itisatruth thanks for the review! DS did not drive through it after all so we'll do that this fall. He is a quirky kid but says he doesn't want to go to a school with all kids like himself. I'll be curious to see what he thinks.
  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 3,790 Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    Headed to RIT and Drexel next week. A long trip for only 2 schools but all he really wants to see despite lots of other options in the area. On the positive side we should get some nice vacation time in there especially compared with his older brothers 4 schools in 5 days, 3 states trip in the middle of winter.

    1 school a day is plenty for me, we've only ever wanted to bail on one tour over the years but more than one is too much, school 4 on the 5 day trip may have been hurt by being school 4 though I don't really think so.

    Biggest tip from the older was to make sure to plan time for meals, when cramming a lot in it can be tough and teen boys can get hangry!
  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff Registered User Posts: 2,703 Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    @eandesmom . We eliminated some tours but got there like the day /night prior and just walked around campus. As my son has pointed out to me several times. After a few tours all the chemistry buildings look the same and all the tour talks sound the same. He's right. Those days we had talks with head of departments or professors. A few we called right there and then and apologized but the ones that were around were more excited to meet us then were to meet them....
  • AltaSki64AltaSki64 Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    Unless cost is a factor. It’s the student’s choice. Right? Took our Son (oldest) on 20+ college visits in every part of the country. We said you can eliminate a school for any reason and there’s no stupid reason. He’s starting at Northwestern University this Fall. Concerning visits, the best admissions session was Williams College probably because they have to sell spending 4 years in a very remote though beautiful place. Best student tour was USC (Southern California). Daughter starting Junior year in HS. For a HS event was in Columbus, OH. Visited Denison and Kenyon. She said both were too small and too remote. We walked around Ohio State which she liked. Understand would be very different feel with 50,000+ students on campus. Bottom line, if you can make it work, visit as many places as possible that is a reasonable choice.
  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 3,790 Senior Member
    We found departmental meetings, 1:1 faculty meetings, interviews and sitting in on classes to be far more beneficial than actual tours. For S17 doing those after acceptances worked best, for S19 they are working well pre application.
  • natty1988natty1988 Registered User Posts: 334 Member
    Don't be afraid to go back to the school after the tour...I remember when touring University of San Diego we liked it so much but we had to rush to our tour at UCSD so we went back to USD later that day.

    Also don't be afraid to look at possible hidden gems or schools in locations you think you may not like. You never know until you visit!
  • nehikernehiker Registered User Posts: 94 Junior Member
    We visited the University of Vermont today. Nice campus, beautiful area and great for outdoorsy types. Burlington is a fantastic college town. Son who is pretty liberal found it to be too liberal. No doubt it is very liberal. Tour guide described himself and any of male as "identifying male." Sustainability was also a constant topic on the tour. Son is OK with all of this, but came away with the sense that it would in his face all the time and would be too much. Maybe it isn't that prevalent, but first impressions are hard to change.
  • ASKMotherASKMother Registered User Posts: 156 Junior Member
    @nehiker the 'identifying' and pronoun identifiers for students (and faculty) are found at MANY Universities these days. we toured several and it is not unique to UVT.
  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 3,779 Senior Member
    I’m not doubting. But I wouldn’t suggest a 9am tour at Wesleyan followed by trying to get to Mt Holyoke for a noon tour. 2pm for sure. Unless you only give Wes an hour or so. And I recall Wes taking a long time to walk to the rec center down the hill and back. Not counting info session.
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