Summer break is the perfect time to start thinking about the most important “shopping trip” your high schooler will take: the college visits! As late summer and early fall is prime visiting time, it’s not too early to start mulling over options. It may seem odd to think of the college visit as a shopping trip; surely it’s not such a trivial decision! However, it’s absolutely appropriate to treat college as a commodity: do your research ahead of time, gather facts, and compare offerings at various schools through the lens of your interests and career path. This is a job for both the student AND the parents!

To get the most out of your visit, consider some of the following tips:

1. Tailor your research to your educational goals. For example, research the departments you are considering as fields of study. Consider scheduling a meeting with a professor in the department as well.
2. Once you have your choices narrowed, research the SAT or ACT requirements for each. These tests play a key role in college acceptances as well as tuition assistance / scholarship opportunities, so consider an SAT or ACT prep course to boost your score.
3. As a parent, you have the voice of experience to offer questions or points that your child may not think of. Parents, remember that you are a background voice in this decision. Aim to assist your child without directing them too heavily. Strive to be an influence and not an impediment!
4. Together determine beforehand what questions you’ll ask. The more you prepare in advance, the more fruitful your discussions will be. You don’t want to spend your drive home thinking of all of the questions you wished you had thought to ask! In addition, asking the same key questions at your top school options gives you a means of comparing apples to apples when decision time comes.

Choosing the “right school” is a weighty task, and the visits are a key component to this decision process. Work together to evaluate and compare. Above all: enjoy the trip and make some memories!

If an SAT or ACT prep course seems like the next logical step for your child, we can help! We offer a test prep course in August. Check  out our website Summer Programs page for more information: Email us at fickeducation@gmail.comto reserve your spot.