Okay, so you’ve signed up for a college tour and you’ve set up your GPS to find the school. What more do you need to do to make the most out of your trip as you begin the college search process?
Well, that is a good start, but there are other ways to make sure your visit is really worthwhile. In a five-minute date, you get 300 seconds to meet, greet and evaluate a potential partner. Fortunately, you have more time to mull over a college visit. But in order to maximize your tour, you should take the time in advance to think through what it is you want to evaluate while you’re on campus. In other words, before you started the car and set foot on the road, you should create a report card to grade the school.
It is very important to develop some sort of rating scale for your report card. By this I mean identifying the aspects of a college you think are important to gauge as well as an actual grading system. Perhaps your child is a finicky eater or a vegetarian or has some other dietary considerations. Then be sure to include the dining hall food on your list and make it a priority to sample a breakfast, lunch or dinner there.
Or, is your child a homebody who needs to feel comfortable in his or her surroundings? Then, the layout of a dorm room or the amenities the dorm offers might be really important criteria. Perhaps your kid is athletic and fit? Then you’ll want to be sure to check the college workout facility, the athletic fields, the roster of club sports or the indoor pool.
Whatever your customized list includes, you’ll then need a rating system. Perhaps a simple thumbs up or down is sufficient, or rank each criteria with a one to 5 scale or some other scale of measurement you’ve come up with. Just be sure to be consistent and use the same criteria and scoring system school to school.
That way, when you’ve arrived home after your last college visit, you have a report card on the schools you’ve visited that will mean something because you’ve developed it with your child’s particular needs in mind.
Photo by arvindgrover via Flickr.