LAC summer college visits--Checklist please

<p>I've read most of the threads having to do with summer college visits, and I completely understand that they are far less desirable than visits when school is in session. (I'm talking about LACs.) Still, in general, people seem to feel that if summer is when you have to do it, it's better than not visiting at all--even though there's always the risk of forming a false impression, quite apart from not getting enough of an impression.</p>

<p>Husband and son have the opportunity to visit a number of LACs in upper Midwest this July; these are all far from our home in Texas and repeat visits during the academic calendar may only be manageable in final decision-making process (i.e., after any acceptances). Since S is rising junior, I gather that interviews won't even be possible or advisable; we can do those at his school senior year anyway.</p>

<p>So what to do in these summer visits? Officially register presence, take campus tour, check out town (if applicable), talk to anyone you can . . . . Beyond that, what are the specific things they should try to do/see/ask/learn (given the constraints)?</p>

<p>For the record, if anyone has particular insights, the colleges they'll visit are: Beloit, Lawrence, Carleton, St. Olaf, Grinnell. (Yes, I know looking at both St. Olaf and Carleton doesn't quite make sense because they have such different vibes but, hey, they're in the same town.)</p>

<p>Ask the guide about their career services and what (if any) special funding they have for internships during the summer or at school. Make sure to ask if the student you're talking to has ever been to/has plans to go to the career center and if they have had or plan to get an internship. Using your alum network, understanding the value of internships, and going to a school where they value making that opportunity available to all students (through funding) rather than just to some students, can vary. How much the school pushes students to think not only of the LAC world but also the world after college, varies. But it will impact your student a lot. </p>

<p>Also, ask about opportunities to do research, not just in the sciences, there are lots of great humanities research projects too.</p>

<p>Ask what they do on the weekends--and look for specifics (everyone will tell you, the school brings in a lot of bands and great speakers. We found that this varied from great bands twice a year to really a good variety). If a particular religious community or extra curricular is important, ask about that. Get a feel for what there is in the town and how easy it is to access it. Really try to see inside a dorm.
FWIW, my D visited all of those schools except Lawrence.</p>

<p>"(Yes, I know looking at both St. Olaf and Carleton doesn't quite make sense because they have such different vibes but, hey, they're in the same town.)" </p>

<p>Actually it does make sense since so handy, especially since you are early in the process. The contrast can be good. Maybe for validating what you think you like. Or maybe for helping you question assumptions. Good luck!</p>

<p>Since I'm new to this, I'm not sure when it's more appropriate to reply by private message vs. the thread, especially if veering off the main topic. (Guidance appreciated.) So, for example, pmartin57, I was wondering why your D didn't look at Lawrence since so many other schools are the same (researching your posts didn't really tell me, though I see you had wide success--congrats!). And colorado_mom, I wonder about your thoughts on St. Olaf and Carleton. I'll go ahead and pitch a question on that here, though I have seen this discussed in various ways elsewhere.</p>

<p>We are a completely secular family, so St. Olaf might be a little weird, but my S is a real straight arrow--not uptight at all and super liberal but (so far) flatly opposed to the idea of at a school with any drug or alcohol wildness. I'm delighted but not sure where it came from . . . . Anyway, I guess I wonder whether we could judge from a summer visit whether St. Olaf would be too conservative or restrictive. S does have strong musical abilities (instrumental not choral), so that's partly what put St. Olaf in the mix.</p>