Preparing for college tours
1. Make sure you have registered to take the PSAT! This is the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship and great practice for the SAT.
2. Identify schools that will be a good fit for you. Plan day trips for close campuses.
4. If you want the maximum amount of information you can get, then make an appointment for an official tour. If you are only looking for a taste of campus, take an unofficial tour.
5. Prepare questions prior to stepping on campus. Ask about activities and services for students, class sizes, how to meet with faculty, AP credits, most popular majors, costs, financial aid, campus jobs, academic advisers, statistic on graduates finding jobs, study abroad programs and computer labs. Phrase your questions in an open ended manner so that you do not receive a yes or no answer.
6. Schedule a meeting with a professor in your field of interest.
7. Bring a notebook to write on.
8. Take a lot of photos, especially if you are visiting several campuses.
9. If you are taking an official tour, show up early and take in the campus on your own.
10. After you have left, journal about your experience. You might need to reflect back on this if you are torn between multiple schools.
Special tips for parents
1. Hang out in the back of the group. Let the potential students have front row.
2. Let your child choose schools that fit them. Maybe bargain with 1-2 schools that you would like them to see as well.
3. Don't go into it with high expectations of a memorable "family bonding" event. They are growing into young men and women and will want their independence.
4. Don't ask the questions. Go over the questions your child has. If there is a question you would like answered, then have them add it to their list and let them do the asking.
5. For more ideas and sanity, read College Bound and Gagged, How to Help Your Kid Get into a Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Your Relationship or Your Mind by Dr. Nancy Berk.