03 Aug Part 4 – Planning On-Campus Arrangements
Planning on-campus visit arrangements for your trip will be vital to keeping things on an even keel and keeping stress at bay. Remember that many other parents and students will also be attending college tours at the same time, so it is important to get your itinerary set as soon as possible.
Setting Up Appointments
Part of these on-campus visit arrangements include setting up appointments with academic advisors, financial aid counselors, department chairs, athletic coaches and others – according to the goals that your child has set and the musts that he or she has already determined (see our blog post Creating a List of Musts).
When scheduling a college visit, I find that the easiest place to start is by registering for the group information session and the group campus tour. Then you can work to plan your other on-campus visit arrangements around those two events. Everything may fall perfectly into place or it may not.
You may find that the schedules of some of the people do not coincide with what you’ve already planned, and you’ll have to reschedule one of the group events. This is one of the reasons why I always urge people to plan as far in advance as possible making these arrangements can be quite time-consuming almost like fitting together the pieces of a puzzle.
All On-Campus Visit Arrangements Start with the College Website
Where do you start to make these arrangements? These days, with a few exceptions, you can register for the group events online. In most cases, when visiting a college website, youll want to start by visiting the Admissions and Financial Aid pages. There you’ll usually find a Visit or Visit Us page. This page will list a calendar of admissions events and you will be able to choose the times that work best for you.
Keep in mind that February through April are the busiest months for college visits and you do run the risk of some of these time slots being full. My suggestion is to leave yourself at least two to three weeks to schedule these events.
It Could Take A While
If your on-campus visit arrangements include scheduling meetings with professors, check first with the admissions office to see if they handle such proceedings. If they don’t, you will need to call the undergraduate academic department on your own. If you search the specific department page, you should be able to find a listing of department faculty and staff. Reach out to a department administrator or coordinator or directly to the chair of the department.
The easiest way to communicate is usually by email. If you do not hear back within a few days, follow up with a phone call or a reminder email. Keep in mind that sometimes it will take quite a while before you actually secure an appointment time. And in some cases, if a professor is not available, you may have to reach out to another department that is of interest to your teen.
I contact athletic coaches in much the same way, as it’s also one of the many on-campus visit arrangements to make. If you do not reach the coach or assistant coach after a week or two, you might try to reach out to the athletic director. Keep in mind that if you are looking at schools in a different time zone, that you will have to consider the time difference when you are making your calls.
If you have the time and your trip coincides with the days and dates that they are offered, schedule an overnight stay for your teen. It is a great way to learn more about life on campus, experiencing dorm life, tasting the food and checking out the food choices, interacting with current students in a non-academic environment, etc.
When doing your on-campus visit planning, either check the visit page or call the admissions office to find out more about when each school offers this opportunity. Organized visits are almost always scheduled through the admissions office. Usually, overnights are reserved for seniors and are offered on specific days of the week.
Make sure to call about these arrangements no later than two weeks before the date you hope to visit. If you can’t schedule an organized overnight, perhaps there is a friend that is a current student on campus that would be willing to host your teen for a night.
If there’s time during your college visit you should also try to schedule a class visit. At most schools, the best days for class visits are Monday through Thursday. Not as many course choices are available on Fridays and some schools, like NYU, do not even offer the option on Fridays.
Again, check the visit section of the website. Some colleges post the classes that prospective students may visit on their website. Others have a list in the admissions office. Some on-campus visit arrangements involve signing up in advance and at others you can make the decision upon arrival. At many schools, the class visit option is available for the student only, so you may have a chance to check out an area of campus that is of specific interest to you.
No doubt there is a lot of work involved in planning a campus tour road trip, and making the customized on-campus arrangements do take a lot of time. But, they are the crux of the trip! By allowing your teen to experience the musts on his list, he, as well as you, will come away from the trip with a great sense of culture of the community of each college that you visit.