What a great thread! My daughter is a 2nd year Vocal Performance major, and like you, I was completely new to this process. I can’t stress how much my daughter’s voice teacher helped us through the process at the time. Don’t forget that your local voice teacher has a vested interest in your son’s successful transition to their choice of Music school.
We had two meetings with our daughter’s teacher, specific to the college search experience. During the first meeting (end of her Junior year) we reviewed schools we had researched with our daughter, based on the kind of college experience she was interested in having. During that meeting, we were able to narrow things down to schools we thought might be the best fit. Since we didn’t have a real grasp of costs at that point (as you don’t know what kind of talent scholarship they will get), we gave ourselves options that included more affordable in State Universities, as well as some reach schools.
During her senior year, once the pre-screens were done, and we knew where she was auditioning, we had a second meeting to review faculty at each school with the idea of reaching out for a voice lesson during my daughter’s visit during audition weekend. In my daughter’s case, her teacher had students at some of the Universities and Conservatories on our list, so she had some familiarity, if not contact, with Voice faculty. At schools where she didn’t know the faculty, she reviewed their CV’s with us and reached out to her industry contacts to find out who might be the right fit. In setting up the lessons, my daughter handled all of the communication with the teachers at each respective school. Neither myself, nor her voice teacher were involved in contacting the schools, as we both thought it was important for my daughter to get a feeling for how each school operates and handles this process.
Keep in mind that some schools (Oberlin for example) include a lesson as part of the audition weekend process. In my daughter’s case, she had a lesson with one teacher she had reached out to on the day prior to the audition, and a second lesson after the audition with different faculty member. In the end, after being accepted, she was contacted by a third faculty member with an invitation to be part of their studio. So, just because you have a lesson, and maybe your son has a good feeling coming out of that lesson, it may not mean that is who they will end up with. As previous posters pointed out, some studios are full, some teachers leave, and none of us know what changes may be coming. As RachelParent pointed out, it also may not be an issue to go to school without an assigned studio. Your son may want to get settled in at school first and then have those discussions with faculty to help him determine the best fit.
What was great about the sample lessons, regardless of the studio your son ends up in, he will get a good feel for the instruction at the school. It also gives them an idea of how the faculties at some of these schools operate. Some schools were very business like in how they communicated, others were very laid back, and others were kind of difficult to communicate with. Just keep in mind that you have a great resource in your current Music teacher, who has been through the process themselves and likely helped guide other students on the same path.