It’s 2021…time to take some college road trips, juniors….
The baton has been passed….
The seniors’ fates have been sealed and now the juniors have become the unofficial seniors.
It’s time for the juniors to jump into “the process.”
As an education consultant, I know all too well how stressful 11th grade is for all parties involved. Academics have ramped up significantly. Standardized tests were canceled on a dime. AP exams were in live and virtual formats. And the kids are now driving (the car, and some parents crazy).
Schools are starting to open up to having visitors on campus, albeit in limited quantities. That is a good thing: we are getting back to some semblance of normalcy.
However, before you and your children embark on this exciting, sometimes stressful, process, here are some tips to make the trips enjoyable and meaningful:
- Make reservations: Showing up unannounced will augur disaster. The best you may be able to do is walk the perimeter of the campus. So, take a few minutes, get on the school’s websites, and secure spots for your visit.
- Create a manageable trip: Visit no more than two schools in one day. You will find yourselves exhausted and burnt out after the first day.
- Be respectful: Tours and admission talks may be very different from the ones that were done two years ago. Take note of the protocol of each school and town you visit. You will most likely be asked to tour as a unit. Prepare your child for this.
- Take notes during the presentation: While your child should be doing this, there is a good chance that this task will be left to mom or dad. The admission officer will speak about the academic requirements. Student ambassadors will talk about fit. Write down everything; you will forget most of it once you leave.
- Get a sense of the college town: If possible, stay overnight and absorb some of the local culture. Many colleges point out places of interest on their websites. Several others offer discounted hotel rates at local hotels. Alternatively, www.tripadvisor.com is a great way to learn about any city or town.
- Connect with alumni from your child’s high school: if a child does not know the targeted student, s/he may resist you. However, these students are your best resource. They can tell you about the adjustment to the school, both academically and socially. They know your local high school and may recommend key courses for senior year. Meeting a student for coffee or lunch is always a good idea.
- Don’t push your alma mater: We all have a soft spot in our hearts for alma mater. We know nothing can possibly compare to Rah-rah State or Old Ivy. However, this is your child’s decision, to a sizable degree. Yes, feel free to visit, but don’t be disappointed if your school doesn’t excite your child.
This is one of the most thrilling times of your child’s life. Before you know it, they will be independent, responsible adults. Enabling them to be an integral part of the search process will empower them. And you may find that alma mater may just hold sway for them.