Personal Interaction Counts

Personal Interaction Counts

Personal interaction makes a great college visit

University of Miami Campus Visit

Last week my family returned from Florida, where we celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents.  Soon after making plans for this trip, we decided to try to fit in a college tour and visit of the University of Miami in Coral Gables.  My son, a junior in high school, has long wanted to visit the campus and it is on his prospective college list. This seemed like the perfect opportunity, and a great way to end our trip.

Not knowing what traffic would be like in Miami we left plenty of time to travel there and arrived a bit early. Since we had time before the information session we had a chance to walk around before heading to the admissions office. After the session, we grabbed a bite to eat at the food court where there were throngs of students and plenty of choices – even a daily pizza truck just for the “U!”

Our tour was not starting until 1:30 so we had some time to people watch in front of the student center, a great way to get a feel for the campus.  And what better way to do so than to relax on one of the many gliders that sit right in front of all the action.  There was so much going on!  That so many of the university’s students partake in community service was evident by the number of booths set up outside the campus center for fundraising for so many different organizations.  My husband noted that there must be lots of school spirit at UM; many of the of students were decked out in University of Miami shirts, polos, shorts and sweats.

Our tour was great! We were the only family in our group and not only did we have one-on-one time with the guide, but we got to hear from three guides-in-training as well.  It was great to hear from all of them about their individual experiences at the “U.”

Visit to a Department

Before heading to the airport we thought we might try to visit the School of Education and Human Development.  Our son is an athlete and is hoping to not only play golf and/or soccer at the college level but he is also interested in turning his passion for sports into a career. As such, we decided to head over to the Department of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences to see if there might be someone there who could show him around or meet with him on short notice.  In line with our campaign to urge him to become a bit more assertive and self-advocating, we suggested that he head inside on his own.  And then we waited. And waited… When he finally returned to us, he was smiling from ear-to-ear.  Not only did he get to meet with a graduate student, he was also able to meet with a professor (who, according to the grad student, is seen as a mentor among the undergrads) who sat down with him and discussed some ideas about majors, minors and career possibilities.  This was truly the highlight of the visit!

Extra Time on Campus

While I always urge clients to try to plan ahead of time and arrange these meetings in advance, I do know that circumstances do not always allow for that.  If you find yourself on a campus with extra time, I would suggest that you make every attempt to seek out someone in your teen’s area of interest.  You never know whom you or your high-schooler might meet – and it’s meetings like these that can help in so many ways:

  • they might motivate your teen to
    • Set new goals
    • Explore a new college major/career path
    • Get better grades
    • Decide that a certain major is not for them
    • they may provide insight for writing college essays
    • they may help narrow down the college list

We all enjoyed our visit to the Coral Gables campus and best of all, our son came away excited with his new-found knowledge and ready to tackle his studies – with the intent of applying to the University of Miami next fall.

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