Dear Estelle. Every year you write about the value of prospective students visiting colleges. We have that option at the end of October as Cherry Creek Schools gives students a weeklong “fall break.” Our son, a senior, is looking at schools throughout the country and frankly it is difficult for me to leave my job for a week and also very costly. We have visited most of the colleges in Colorado so we can make decent comparisons between small schools and large universities. Must we undertake the planning and expense just to visit a few places when there are so many videos, blogs, and websites with loads of information? If you concur we will forego the tours this year and spend more time “virtually touring.”
JF Weinberg, Parent, Cherry Creek High School
Like any important venture in your lives, college tours require effort and some expense to make them productive. Schools in Colorado can provide a baseline for your next round of explorations. College tours are just a single facet of planning wisely for college. Years ago I wrote a column where I indicated that some people do more research when buying an automobile than they do selecting a college. Investigating college campuses can allow families to make first-hand evaluations. By approaching the college selection process as a consumer, the value of the visit becomes clear. Each place you visit could become your child’s home for four years. I have been working with clients since midsummer outlining their college trips for this fall. Believe it or not, within a week’s time you can conveniently visit 6-10 colleges, which are in fairly close proximity. Sometimes you may want to visit a school more than once. If your student is planning to go early decision or early action, a college visit should be mandatory. Planning is the key.
In the search for the perfect college for your student it is unrealistic to think you will be able to visit every school on their list. Fortunately there are several online tools that give prospective students the chance to read blogs, watch interviews with actual students, and take virtual campus tours. Listed below are a few of the sites. Some are better than others. Not one site possesses all of the necessary content to enable a student to make a perfect college choice. The Internet is no substitute for actually being on campus. The sites can be helpful however. Also, many of the virtual tours found online are submitted by the users and therefore have their own biases. The names of several of the sites are Unigo, CollegeClickTV.com, and ecampustours.com.
If you have your college list complete and would like assistance organizing your tour, give me a call.