How many schools to visit?

<p>As a parent to my oldest who is just going through this process I have questions on how to approach visiting schools. </p>

<p>How many schools did your senior visit-before senior year-during senior year? Also how many schools did they visit before applying and how many schools did they apply to without visiting?</p>

<p>So far my junior S has visited 5 schools. We had no idea how he would score on the SAT and ACT, thus our approach to visiting schools was very conservative. Of the 5 schools, he liked 3, one was okay and he wasn't wild about the 5th. All of the schools are match/safetys. In almost all of our visits, we hated the schools we thought that we would like and liked the schools we thought that we would hate.</p>

<p>Now my S would like to visit more schools, esp. ones that would be more of a match/reach. Of course all the schools that he has mentioned are nowhere near each other. </p>

<p>I am just curious how to approach visiting more schools.</p>

<p>deb - There are lots of posts on this topic, most a ways back. Some visit none (mostly internationals), some visit a few, and some more. Distance is a factor, finances are a factor, high school policies are a factor, parent availability is a factor, etc. BUT, the biggest factor is your S.</p>

<p>My D was looking for an "edgy" college experience, far away from our "land of steady habits." I'm sure we visited more than 50 campus' from Boston to Florida to California -- NONE in her Senior year. My D was willing to do this because (1) she enjoys seeing new places, and (2) she was looking for something very personal. Your experience may vary.</p>

<p>Visited six. Applied to 6, including two that we did not visit. We only visited schools that were match or safeties.</p>

<p>My D visited 8 colleges, 5 during a cross country spring break tour. It would have been difficult to find the time for more without either missing too much school or doing it in the summer, which wouldn't be quite the same. She ended up going to a school that she added to her list later & didn't visit there until an accepted students weekend.</p>

<p>We visited 8 schools....he applied to three (two of them were sight unseen)</p>

<p>We travelled to the states to visit and did that in the summer. It was the only possible time. Son visited regions he was interested in: West Coast, East Coast, Midwest. I sent him on his own to visit one school; because he attended a school in New Hampshire in the summer and I wanted to see the performances at the end we drove to two schools in the New England area. Because we normally stay in CA and have a car there, we drove the length of the state and visited 2 schools there. In all he saw 5 schools and he applied to 8. I bought a few of the College Videos to cover potential schools that we didn't have the money or time to visit. As I look back over the process, I think the visit is very, very important. In the end, he chose a school that he not only visited on his own but he was able to interview and meet teachers he would possibly be working with. This was set up through emails in the spring. That worked well with the other schools we visited. We spent 2 nights at each location so he got a good feel for the places and interviewed with music folks. He applied to 4 of the 5 schools we visited and added others that had features that seemed to work for him. But in the end, it was a visited school that he chose. Keeping in mind that son was applying for music, he applied to so called reaches, matches and safeties--it was a happy outcome and he was accepted everywhere.</p>

<p>It was easy for us in a way, because my S had a good idea of what kind of schools he wanted and was adamant that it had to be on one coast or the other, and near/in a city, so travel was able to be consolidated. </p>

<p>We did two week-long visits during vacation weeks in junior year: Feb. was the "CA colleges" week (flew to San Diego/LA, visited 4 schools, flew home to San Jose and drove to 2 other schools). Late March was the "east coast colleges" week (flew to Boston, train to NYC, train to Baltimore, flew home). He visited 9 schools, and applied to 7 of them plus one he did not visit. He visited that last school after being accepted.</p>

<p>The visits were much more meaningful for him because classes were in session. He sat in on a class at several of the schools and talked with professors and students, and got the feel for what the campus is like on a normal day. (Not to mention experiencing the weather while it was on the poor side on both coasts.) He attended an "admitted students" weekend at his top two choices during senior year spring, after which he made his decision.</p>

<p>If you can do your visits during the school year, that's ideal, but of course it's not always possible. We know many students who waited for their acceptances before they visited, but for my S, the visits helped him weed out a couple formerly top possibilities, and add in a surprise contender.</p>

<p>My junior son will have visited 8 schools this school year. Right now he is visiting his sister's college in Illinois. He would like to look at one or two more before he starts his senior year. I second New Hope's reply about how there are son many things that factor into each families visits.</p>

<p>For us, I really wanted my son to see the colleges while they were in session so I paid close attention to the school calendar and the colleges calendar and was able to find days when our HS would be off but colleges would be in session. He will have only missed three days of school for visits. The one or two schools left are RIT, which has a special program for rising seniors in the summer and one in Arizona. Since we're going to be there for vacation, I thought it might be fun to tour. My SIL lives about an hour from the college and would love to see her nephew more often. Of the 8 schools, only 3 are out of state so it wasn't that hard logistically to visit any of them. With two more out of state ones to see that will be 5 in state visits and 5 out of state.</p>

<p>I am hoping that with all the visits and tests (SAT and ACT) taken care of by early June, he can work on his applications in the first part of the school year. Hopefully, any visits in his senior year will take place in late winter when he's choosing from admitted colleges! I can't believe that next year at this time we'll know where he'll be going to college.</p>

Now my S would like to visit more schools, esp. ones that would be more of a match/reach. Of course all the schools that he has mentioned are nowhere near each other.


<p>Part of your question is answered there - "my son would like to visit more schools". We had to do an intensive long driving trip in the summer, plus several shorter junkets. At the end, my DD, who had started out saying she wouldn't apply to any schools sight unseen, was saying whe would never take HER kids to visit any colleges, they would have to apply first!</p>

<p>Since he is now the one who is interested, I would set him to work doing some planning and prioritizing. I don't know where he is stats wise, but many real stratospheric reaches could care less if you visit or not, while a visit may make a real difference at certain LACs or match schools. I would tell him this, and try to get him to determine how that applies to the schools he is interested in seeing. Then I would say, we have X days to visit, which schools can we fit in. You will still probably need to do a lot of planning, because most 16 year olds aren't savvy enough drivers/travelers to be able to estimate driving times, etc, but getting him involved in the choosing, and understanding that it is not necessarily the dream schools you need to see, will help get the most out of the visits.</p>

<p>Our pattern was the following, with the first three groups in reverse order of geographical preference:</p>

<p>9th grade: one in the Midwest (Northwestern)
10th grade: five in the Mid-Atlantic (Georgetown et alia)
11th grade: seven, the Boston to NYC whirlwind tour
12th grade: Fall: one to Northern California
Spring: the two finalists in Massachusetts</p>

<p>Worked for my D. Taking a trip early helped give her a baseline later when she was more serious. Also, visiting before she applied was an absolute completely changed the way she felt about several schools and didn't even apply to some, added others, based on visits.
The "visit after you're accepted" scenario would have been close to a disaster.</p>

<p>Visited none as far as planned tours before applying, although he had been to one on an orchestra tour and been to another because big brother goes there. Son visited his four top choices after acceptances came in. It did help him to make a decision. It is more hectic visiting after acceptance, but at least he didn't fall in love with some college just to be rejected, so there are some advantages.</p>

<p>Wow, I'm getting responses all over the board. I think that there is not "one right way" to organize visiting these places. I truly appreciate each and every comment that I have received.</p>

<p>Cangel, very astute! I agree that the key is to follow what he wants to do. At this moment he is very busy with school activities. I think that we will sit down and talk and have him decide which direction he wants to move in. It is impossible to visit everywhere he wants but I also think that it's important to visit more "reach" schools to see if he would be comfortable there.</p>

<p>kathiep, I can't believe either that this time next year we will know where our kids are going to go. </p>

<p>TheDad, I'm with you. I think that for my son, visiting after he was accepted would not be the right decision for him.</p>

<p>Based on the college visits that we have done so far, it will be very interesting to see how he feels about the next round of visits. From our visits so far he has been more impressed with a nuturing atmosphere than what I call "throw them in the pool and see if they can swim".</p>

<p>He thought that he would love Purdue. He went to a college fair and was so impressed with what the adcom had to say. It looked like a school made for him. The reality was, it's number 5 on a list of 5. It was so big and Purdue seemed to embrace their bigness. The student tour guide bragged about his SAT scores, it didn't seem like there was much opportunity for co-ops, and you had to take a bus to the dorms. In his opinion it seemed cold and uninviting.</p>

<p>Schools which hold some interest for him include, Rose-Hulman, Case, RPI and Colorado School of Mines.</p>

<p>We started with reverse geolographical preference, but then went scattershot. From our home in Connecticut:
already visited
10th grade, spring vacation - 4 Southern schools, just both kids and me
10th grade summer - 3 schools around Philly, wife, kids, me
11th grade spring - 2 in Boston area, one S and me
this summer - 5 in the midwest (including Rose-Hulman) - all four of us
later this summer, maybe - drive to Cleveland (Case) with 2 stops on the way
12th grade fall - day trips around New England, probably 3-4 schools
possible quick fly to LA and visit 2 for my wife and one S</p>

<p>Yikes! That's at least 20 schools! But it's being spread over 2 1/2 years, and there are two kids who both have to decide whether they want to go techie or liberal arts or big U. They have not experienced different parts of the country up to this point, so we're trying to accomplish that, too. They both claim they don't care how far from home they go. When it's time for the decisions, though, I wonder if their distance from each other may play some factor. </p>

<p>I wish we could see more places when the students are there, but my wife can't get away from work then (she works at a college, and can't really take vacation when it's in session).</p>

<p>My D applied to 10 schools. She visited 6. Of the 4 she didn't visit, 2 were reaches, one a match and one safety (a throwaway really: she applied on-line mainly because some friends were applying so it probably really doesn't count!). We figured if she got into the other three, we would somehow get there for visits in April. Didn't matter because 1) she had already decided before she heard from them and 2) she didn't get into the reaches, and by then the match was not really a consideration (plus, no $$ and would have been very expensive).</p>

<p>Do not neglect visiting near-by colleges (if these exist for you!) just to get a feel for what a college campus is all about & how different types of college exist. This is esp. good when done with a soph. yr. student who can begin to get a feel for lg. vs. small, city vs. suburban or rural, etc. And is usually fairly easy to plan for and not costly.</p>

<p>While many posters here are college grads, there may be posters who did not go to college, or went to tech. schools or other vocational training schools, so they really need to introduce what college is all about to their children. You might drive by a college or uni. every day on your commute, but have never set foot on the campus, & neither have your kids! Therefore, go to a local college, or two and even visit the area community college with your younger high school student just to get acquainted with colleges in general. This is a good start, even if they do not end up applying to any of these local options.</p>

<p>My son visited 13 and applied to 6. For him, visiting was especially important for <em>removing schools</em> that looked good on (virtual) paper, but just weren't right once he got there.</p>

<p>Deb, I noticed that your son is interested in RPI. Does his HS offer the Rensselaer Medal?? It comes with a $15k/year scholarship for all 4 years, no required gpa, important at Rensselaer which has a reputation for tough academics.</p>

<p>Unfortunately if his HS does offer it, it has probably already been awarded. If not inquire at the guidance office and chech with Rensselaer admissions if it is too late.</p>

<p>Our son got the Medal at his HS and is now attending "The Tute". He has had a great first year and has been challenged like he never has before. Maybe too much in his Data Structures and Algorithms class this semester.</p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>originaloog, I think that they do award the Rensselaer Medal. Unfortunately, I really doubt that he would receive it. I don't think that many kids at his school are even interested in engineering but he probably does not have the grades.</p>

<p>The medal would be awarded at a ceremony in May. I do not think that the invitations have gone out yet.</p>

at our HS, they try to give the medal to the kid who will use it. As soon as my son visited RPI and didn't like it (or any other tech school, for that matter), I e-mailed the GC and told her so. It will be going to a kid that will use it (and indeed, this is his dream school and would not be attending without it). So - if your kid likes RPI - let the GC know it! Your school might handle it differently, but you never know.</p>

<p>Thanks Ohio_mom, THAT is great information. I will ask the GC. Sometimes there are 2 or 3 people who receive all the awards and I figured that this was one of them.</p>