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Old 07-06-2009, 10:30 PM
cjopbj cjopbj is offline
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Default College visits (with High School student)

My husband and I are visiting colleges this summer with our son and I've noticed a few things. Smaller schools give better tours. Large, well regarded public institutions give the worst tours. It seems to me that small private schools are trying to make a good impression. They have coffee and cookies available for parents and students - then a friendly admissions officer and/or knowledgeable student shows you around. The large schools are more lax in their presentations and never offer snacks.

But does a good tour mean a good college experience? How much weight should be given to your feelings after a tour to your ultimate college decision? Any opinions?
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:23 PM
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Howlin' Wolf Howlin' Wolf is offline
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My kids aren't that old yet but I'm not a big fan of the larger colleges. I'm in Kentucky where UK and UofL are the headliners but seem to have the biggest problems with out of control parties, arson and the occasional sexual assault. That's in addition to their bigass sports programs and overpaid coaches that's figured into the high tuition you'll pay. I'm satisfied they're good learning institutions but then so are a lot of the smaller colleges. My wife went to the smaller EKU where she worked part time and with little financial assistance from me(we were dating) or her parents she got along just fine graduating with honors.
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:15 AM
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Sohna Sohna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjopbj View Post
My husband and I are visiting colleges this summer with our son and I've noticed a few things. Smaller schools give better tours. Large, well regarded public institutions give the worst tours. It seems to me that small private schools are trying to make a good impression. They have coffee and cookies available for parents and students - then a friendly admissions officer and/or knowledgeable student shows you around. The large schools are more lax in their presentations and never offer snacks.

But does a good tour mean a good college experience? How much weight should be given to your feelings after a tour to your ultimate college decision? Any opinions?
I've highlighted key words in the above quote. Are you comparing small vs. large or public vs. private? Private schools, small or large are going to wine and dine you better because they are far more interested in getting you to sign on the bottom line. Public institutions get most of their income from tax money; they aren't really interested in whether you choose them or another college. If, with independent research, you have decided that they will do a good job educating your child, the fact that their tour is lax should not weigh against them, anymore than the quality of cookies provided by the private institution should weigh in their favor.

What you really want is a college that is respected (that is, the place is not known for being an easy degree-mill) and where the instructors take an interest in the education of the students at least as much as they take an interest in their own research.

If your son has chosen a specific major, make an appointment with that department. Talk directly to the chairman of the department and as many of the instructors as you can. Then, go with the set of instructors your son (not necessarily you) likes the best. Please note that this is completely separate from a "tour."

If he hasn't decided, then I'd recommend he go to a community or junior college (whatever they call it in your area). "Name" recognition does not count here; all that will count is where he ultimately graduates from. In this case, just make sure that the credits will transfer without difficulty to the short list of senior-level colleges you came up with originally.

-- signed, the mom of a college student.
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:37 AM
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Like anything else these days, colleges and universities have online review sites that you can peruse and help make your decisions. Check over their accredation, find out about their standards, and above all, when you are visiting a campus, talk directly with some of the students who are in the same program that your kid will be attending. Find out how satisfied they are with the ciriculum. Take a couple to lunch and scope things out... find out how often the admin changes the requirements for graduation...
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Old 07-08-2009, 09:29 AM
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See if you can't get a crime report for the area too. Colleges like to downplay that data, so try the FBI's website.
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