Especially for Sophomores & Juniors (College Visits)
Whether attending a sporting event or passing through campus while on a family vacation, this is the time you may be casually checking out some colleges. Then before you know it, you’ll be doing official tours and considering where you might apply.
The day you visit a campus, you think you’re going to remember every detail for the rest of your life. But a few college tours later, the details will start to run together and you’ll forget which school has the free ice cream bar and where students have to pay to go to the football games.
So, it’s helpful to have a system in place for your visits.
Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:
Be Strategic about Timing. If possible, consider which order you might want to visit schools. Ask yourself if there are good reasons to visit your “safety schools” or your “reach schools” first. If you’re feeling especially nervous about your initial college tour, that might determine the order for you. Or if you have a tendency to settle without considering all options, that might lead to a different order for you. The key with strategic order is knowing your unique tendencies when it comes to decision-making. And if you’re not sure, ask your parents to plot the order of which schools to visit based on how well they know you.
Go Deeper than the Tour Guide. Remember that school ambassadors are sales persons. They’re supposed to make the school seem like heaven on earth. Of course, in some cases, you might get a tour guide who turns you off. Either way, it’s best to put the tour experience aside and simply imagine yourself there. Think of your interests and where you might get involved, and then try to talk to people in those circles to help you know if it could be a right fit for you.
Use a Checklist. Check out the College Visit Review document that can be found on my new and updated website under Resources. This resource can be printed out and used for each visit. You can even put multiple copies in a fun binder dedicated to college visits. Or, at the very least, use this worksheet to help you plan your visit and make notes on your phone.
Take Notes Immediately after Every Visit. Even take notes on the schools you don’t like. Knowing what you don’t want in a college can be just as helpful as what you do want.
Have a Meaningful Discussion. After each visit, consider devising a tradition to go somewhere on or near campus to contemplate what you just experienced and to take notes or fill out your College Visit Review document. This can be a special time for making memories with your family during this season of college visits.
Resist being Overwhelmed. You’re probably not going to feel ready for college when you start your tour process. That’s ok. You’re not the same person today you were two years ago, and two years from now you won’t be the same person you are now. When the Lord opens doors for your future college, you’ll also be ready for that school at that time (Acts 17:26). In the meantime, just have fun with the journey, take your time increasing the intensity from casual visits to formal tours, and place your faith in God for your college choice.
“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up…You comprehend my path…You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me…I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…in Your book my days all were written, fashioned for me…” (Ps. 139:1, 2, 3, 5, 14,16)