Summer’s coming and your high school junior might be thinking more about trips to the beach than about college plans, but this is the perfect time to start planning college visits!  The earlier the better.  If you haven’t already, sit down with your son or daughter and think about what colleges he or she might want to attend.  Then plan a trip.

Harvard Gate

Top 4 reasons to visit colleges this summer:

  1. The college visit is the best way for you and your son or daughter to get a feeling for what a school is really like, beyond the two dimensionality of a web page or brochure.  Meet students, see dorm rooms and dining halls, and maybe even sit in on a class (though classes are not as numerous in the summer as they would be in the spring or fall).  Your child will get a sense of whether he or she wants to spend four years in this place.
  2. At schools that offer on-campus interviews, this is your child’s chance to meet an admissions representative before even submitting an application.  It is a chance to make an impression early on so the committee has a face – or at the very least an interview report — to attach to the application.  Alumni interviews don’t happen until after the application is submitted, so the on-campus interview is an opportunity not to be missed.
  3. Visiting shows the school that your child is serious about that school.  Who takes their summer vacation to go and visit colleges?  Not too many people.  Show up at colleges when you could be out on Cape Cod, and you make an impression.  Want to make the biggest splash?  Visit in June or July.  Most families wait until August, when your son or daughter will be just one face in a sea of hundreds.
  4. Summer visits give you time to revisit.  If you and your child like what you see and want to know more, or if you’re not sure and need a second look, making the first visit in June gives you plenty of time for a second round.  If you visit for the first time in February, your family will have to make decisions based on one visit alone.

So…  before hitting the beach, sit down for a college conversation, pull out a map, and start planning!

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