What we learned from a college campus visit

My senior (and I) spent several hours in the fall applying for colleges. He wrote essays and applied for scholarships. When he received his acceptance letters, he was elated. Applying for college was a long process, and now he is trying to determine what school will be the best for him. His top choice invited accepted students to a preview weekend, so we decided to visit the campus.

As we drove, we came up with several questions. Here are the questions we asked (or learned that we needed to ask):

  1. Costs — What do tuition and books cost?
  2. Housing — What are the housing options available, what do they cost and (most importantly) what do current students think of the different dorms?
  3. Meals — What meal plans are available, what do they cost, where do students eat and is the food any good?
  4. Transportation — Do freshmen need a car, what does it cost to get a parking permit, what other transportation is available?
  5. Weather — It is very cold or hot? How much does it snow and/or rain?
  6. Clothing — What clothing is essential (snow boots, rain coat, business attire)?
  7. Registration — How and when do incoming freshmen register for classes?
  8. Transfer credits — Does the school accept high school dual credits/ concurrent credits/ AP credits?
  9. Placement tests — What placement tests do incoming freshmen need to take?
  10. Payment — How do students make tuition and housing payments?
  11. Immunizations — Does the college require current immunization records?
  12. Entertainment — What do students do for fun on and off campus? Do they have intramural sports?
  13. Greek chapters (sororities and fraternities) — What are the pros and cons of joining a chapter? What does it cost?
  14. Safety — How safe is the campus? Do they talk to incoming freshmen about safe/consensual sex, drug and alcohol abuse?

I am glad that we went to visit the campus. It was a bit overwhelming for my senior, but it was very helpful. We learned that the first choice my son had for housing was on the wrong side of campus. We also learned that he needs to move to campus a few days early, in order to join a fraternity. We found out about a mandatory three-day campus visit, where the students choose classes, make a four-year plan and register.

We have a long list of things to do before classes begin in the fall, but now we know where he wants to go and what he needs to do to be ready.

Has your senior decided where he/she wants to go after high school? How are you helping prepare them for college? What questions do you have?

Melanie Flake

Melanie Flake

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