The whole family is going on a two-week college tour to the East Coast in July! It’s all very exciting and it seems like a good idea as my kids (I have twins) get ready to apply to schools. However, I’m struggling to understand what they are going to “figure out” by walking around the campuses. (Most of the places we plan to visit aren’t allowing visitors into the buildings.) I’m a little nervous all the schools will blend together in a great mass of green quads and old stone buildings and that we’ll fly back to California no clearer on college choices than when we left.
Yet, over and over I read on CC that students knew that a school was for them the moment they walked onto the campus. For those who have toured before, can you say what helps some kids know: “this is the one”? What made magic happen?
And if love at first sight doesn’t emerge, what should we be looking for when we tour? What key questions might help my kids understand the differences between schools?
I would love to hear the go-to questions you had for tours as well as what helped you sort through all the qualitative data you got. Did you have checklists? Take tons of photos? Keep running video journals of responses? Basically, please please share your secrets for making good use of college visits.
For those who are curious or might have specific tips for particular schools, we are visiting (listed by the day):
- Tufts & Brandeis
- Wheaton & Brown
- Clark U & Conn Coll
- Mt. Holyoke & Amherst
For this first set of nine colleges, we are staying in Boston as our hub and driving out and back each day. Coming from California, everything on the East Coast seems so close and doable. (I realize I might be wrong.) Then we drive down I-95 (stopping in on Yale) and establish DC as our next hub.
The second set:
- Georgetown & American
- Dickinson & Gettysburg
- Johns Hopkins & Goucher
Thank you so much for any suggestions or feedback you might have.