Get accepted and then VISIT or is that a really bad idea

<p>How important is it to visit before applying? My son is interested but unless he gets merit or scholarship money, the chances of him attending are very slim.. We would not be able to afford 40,000 a year.. So do we just apply and then have him visit if he gets accepted, or should I book a plane ticket and fly from the midwest in October and visit such colleges as Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Middlebury, Amherst, Wesleyan, Tufts and Hamilton, so see where he has a good vibe? All in all in will cost us over $1000 to do this, and seriously, he will have to attend the best school he can get into with the best financial aid package, as long as he doesnt feel a negative vibe. So my thought is to wait until we get offers first and then travel next Spring. He scored a 2250 on his SAT and is awaiting his ACT but I expect a 35 on his ACT (given his practice tests). He is an IB diploma candidate, and I expect him to earn the diploma.</p>

<p>Please give me your thoughts....Thanks so much ...Considering other colleges as well, such as Vanderbilt, St. Olaf, Wash U, Rice, Bucknell, Muhlenberg, Lafayette, and he is probably going to be pre dental.. He might even consider Duke and Stanford, as well as Colorado College, and Denver U.</p>

<p>THis is a ton of travel to have to consider in one's senior year, and I am just wondering if its best to apply and then see where the offers fall first... Money is quite tight and to fly two people out east for a week of visits will be around $1000 (my best guess).</p>

<p>If you narrow down your choices to top three schools, and then attempt to visit, if feasible, its better. Though tours are full of smiley faces and glossy brochures. The best time to visit is in the fall when students are there and you can see for yourself the vibe and how the campus really is. </p>

<p>Though not all people can visit every school. Its just not advisable to accept a college site unseen.</p>

<p>Sometimes, but not always, visiting a school can mean they remember that you have a strong interest. But dont be too obsequious or smarmy. Just be yourself. </p>

<p>Picking a college is all about the RIGHT FIT for your kid. It has little to do with USNWR rankings.</p>

<p>Your choices so far are also sort of regional and thus if you go this summer, you can visit several schools in a week. </p>

<p>Remember weather, distance from home, culture, remoteness of the campus in case of sickness or traumas, and all around social fitness. </p>

<p>Its a total myth that because you score a 2250 you should only consider or attend a top 20 school. They may or may not be the right school for your kid. There are kids with 2200's - 2400 scores at some schools even down into the top 75. Happens every year. Why? Sometimes scholarships, sometimes they just wanted that particular school and experience.</p>

<p>You seem to have a fairly healthy spread in your choices, which is good. The goal is for your kid to be happy, content and to THRIVE academically and socially. Not to be stressed, depressed and overwhelmed. </p>

<p>Good luck</p>

<p>We visited many, many schools with the idea that DD would make her choices and apply based on her visits. However, the school that she ended up attending is one that I asked her to apply to and she had not visited it prior to applying.</p>

<p>It sounds as though you have a good idea of the type of school your son wants. Some of the schools on your list will be well over $50K with travel and other expenses, and a couple of them are tough to get in (and you know that). I think that if your son is set on the type of school and its location (small town, etc), it is not essential to visit before being admitted. Have a fun year with the search.</p>

<p>I'm pretty sure all of the schools you mentioned in that first list don't give any merit aid/scholarships.</p>

<p>shoresea, waiting and then visiting is fine if your son does his homework first by looking at websites and facebook groups to see if the schools seem to feel right. Have you visited local schools that would be a good benchmark for your son?</p>

<p>You and/or your son will want to do a little homework looking at the Common Data Sets (CDS) for each of these schools. Each school reports on the factors that they consider for admission. Visiting the campus is considered demonstrating interest. Some schools will note this, and others won't. Dartmouth and Tufts, for instance, won't.</p>

<p>You say that financial aid will be important. What is your EFC (expected family contribution)? Some schools will offer only need-based aid, while others will offer both need-based and merit aid. If your EFC is higher than you can afford to pay, you'll be looking for schools that award merit aid, in which case you could rule out need-based-only schools (e.g. Dartmouth and Tufts, among others). By comparing financial aid policies for each school along with considering your family finances, you'll be able to eliminate any schools which would be unaffordable. You might also come up with a list of schools that highly prefer merit aid candidates to interview on campus (e.g. Muhlenberg). </p>

<p>I have a bias towards visiting safeties, since a safety that a student hates is no safety. </p>

<p>Keep asking questions here to keep from feeling overwhelmed. :)</p>

<p>I never visited Rice University until after I received admission, and I ended up spending my 1st year there (an awesome "hidden gem" of a school). So yeah, I don't think it is a bad idea. However, I recommend you visit at least half of the colleges before applying because if your son gets into most of them (let's say 7 colleges), there is no way you can visit them all between April 1st and May 1st.</p>

<p>However, if you do not visit before applying, I suggest showing interest in the college in some other fashion, especially for Rice. This can include attending a local information session (Rice travels with Brown, Cornell, Columbia, and UChicago to major cities --> check out Exploring</a> Educational Excellence), going to a Rice high school visit, or requesting an alumni interview), etc.</p>

<p>S ended up at the school he had never seen before applying. Several schools he had only seen during the summer, so he had to go back to see them in session. Part of the reason for visiting schools is to "show interest," but if you're a plane ride away, that's less important. With finances such a big part of the equation for you, I think you're fine to wait until you see what the most viable options are before visiting.</p>

<p>The other thing to keep in mind is that a lot will change between now and April. If any of your son's schools offer rolling admission or a non-binding early action (and I know some of them don't) have him get those applications in early. IMO it is also a good idea to apply to an in-state school with an honors college because they are sometimes the financial safety--though not always.</p>

<p>That's not great list for someone looking for aid--need based or merit. Take Colorado College, they don't do either well. Your son could get strong merit aid by applying to colleges at that level that do offer good merit aid.</p>

<p>Personally I didnt want to jinx it by visiting before i applied. i visited 3 schools cuz my parents wanted me too: hopkins, penn, and umcp (safety) and didnt visit unc vt uva or carnegie mellon. got into every school except penn and hopkins. obviously you may not feel this way but i think its bad luck to visit before being accepted</p>

<p>I think as long as you go to the accepted student days it doesn't matter if you visited before. But it does help to get a sense of types of schools. If he could visit a mid-sized urban university like Wash. U, for example, and compare it to a small more rural place (St. Olaf or Grinnell?) it would help him to think through his criteria and maybe you could drive to those. Or if you do one east coast trip, don't worry about whether you see every place. Take a short trip so the hotels don't add to the expense too much--- to Boston, for example-----and see 3 somewhat different schools.</p>

<p>If you have done a lot of research into all the schools I suggest to visit the schools you actually get accepted into.</p>

<p>how do you know this-HONESTO--" I'm pretty sure all of the schools you mentioned in that first list don't give any merit aid/scholarships. "</p>

<p>Hi Red Roses,
How do you suggest I find those colleges with good merit and financial aid?</p>

<p>Shoresea--
We too cannot afford 40k/yr and our oldest went to Brown with big aid. They don't give merit scholarship (the merit is that you got accepted lol) but they are very generous with fin aid. We also found the FA office very pleasant to deal with.</p>

<p>Our youngest is a rising sr in h.s. and I am not looking forward to the next 6 months--we still can't afford 40/yr (and now it is 50) but we are now more relaxed abt it as we know she will rcv at least some aid.</p>

<p>I suggest you and your child spend much time at these & other schools' websites looking at whether they offer merit aid (the fin aid pages will tell you). This will cost a lot less than traveling! I also suggest you visit Princeton's FA pages---even if you have no plans to apply there, they have a very good outline of the entire process that holds for just about anywhere. Much of what they say on their Fin Aid FAQs page applies to any private school. You should also be at the US Gov'ts financial aid pages, to learn about the FAFSA, which you will be filling out, and various types of loans, etc. </p>

<p>Student</a> Aid on the Web</p>

<p>Even if you are not citizens, there are good descriptions here of various types of aid and you can learn much--you will certainly learn the lingo of fin aid, and be less confused.</p>

<p>Last year we made a college visiting trip in late Aug/early Sept, when the schools we saw had just started, but our high school had not yet. So we got to visit some classes, and meet students. You Midwesterners start school earlier than we in NJ, so you might not be able to do this. </p>

<p>Where are you in the Midwest? Are you sure you cannot make your school visit trip a driving one, instead of paying for plane tickets? When we visited schools in N Engl with the older dau, we stayed at the travel hostel in Boston, and a KOA campground in Mass, to keep down costs. There are campgrounds near some of the schools you mention, where you can rent a cabin for a couple of nights, for far less than a hotel. </p>

<p>It is best to visit schools when classes are in session, to meet other students, it is true, but maybe you could do some of it during the summer, to get a feel for city vs country schools & that kind of thing. </p>

<p>The ivies and a number of other schools do not give merit scholarships---their aid is need-based only. You have to fill out the FAFSA & (in the case of Ivies and some others) the school's own form, to determine your level of need. The real reason for merit based aid is to entice high performing students to come to the offering school--as well as, obviously, to help their families pay for college. </p>

<p>Whether your student will qualify for merit based scholarships really depends on the schools to which he applies! Is he a match for that school; does he have other characteristics besides his scores, that they are seeking? How many other students like him applied to that school? That is why you need to spend time at the schools' websites. </p>

<p>Good luck in your searching!</p>

<p>That's what I did actually but in the end, the visit wasn't even that necessary b/c I was set on going anyway. Will your son qualify for Fin Aid? Most of the schools on the first list don't really offer Merit aid...
and of course, apply to more than top 20 schools, but I think you have that covered best of luck!</p>

<p>"Dartmouth's financial aid is based solely on a family's demonstrated need. We do not offer merit or athletic scholarships..."</p>

<p>"With the exception of a few $1,000 scholarships associated with the National Merit Scholarship Program, Bowdoin does not offer merit money of any kind. Although merit plays a significant part in the decision to admit an applicant, it plays no part in the decision to aid an applicant. Consistent with this commitment to need-based aid, Bowdoin does not "negotiate" financial aid awards or attempt to match first-year aid awards offered by other colleges."</p>

<p>"We do not offer merit scholarships at Middlebury."</p>

<p>"No, we offer no 'merit-based' scholarships of any kind." -Amherst</p>

<p>"No aid is based on academic merit, athletic ability or special talents." -Wesleyan</p>

<p>"The University does not offer merit aid, with the exception of National Merit Scholarship Corporation awards." -Tufts (these awards are very small, by the way)</p>

<p>"Hamilton College will no longer offer merit scholarships, beginning with the first-year class that enrolls in the fall of 2008."</p>

<p>These are all taken from the websites of the respective colleges. Your son better get to revising his list if he is going to need more merit aid than small NMS awards. Look for schools where his stats would be far above average.</p>

<p>If he's thinking about pre dental, he should spend as little money as possible on his undergrad degree, because the rest of his education will be quite expensive.</p>

<p>Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Middlebury, Amherst, Wesleyan - Do not give merit aid. But, we found that D, who is going to Williams, got better packages for need only schools than she got from similar schools with merit aid. There are calculator out there than can give you an estimate of the range of need you qualify for.</p>

<p>We visited most of the schools my D applied to in Feb of her senior year (she had been accepted to most by then). This was not ideal, but it worked out fine. If you want to avoid many lengthy, costly trips, try to at at least visit local schools to get an idea of what types of schools are preferred (large/small, urban/rural, private/public, etc.) up front to narrow things down. My D is a procrastinator, so she applied to a wide variety and needed to figure it all out Feb-April, which was interesting and exciting, but not terribly efficient.</p>