Managing Monday’s: You Won’t Know Until You Go


Managing Monday’s: You Won’t Know Until You Go

On Thursday Isaac my oldest son will be flying to Arizona to check out the University of Arizona in Tucson. This is one on his top choices of schools. My parents will meet him there and take him on his first official college visit. I am nervous and excited for him. I remember looking at schools view books and glossy pictures of how great the school was. Then I went to visit. There is no substitute for experiencing your potential alma mater. It is important to experience the size, the friendliness, the location, the arrangement of the buildings, and how you feel when you are there. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a visit to an actual college campus is worth an entire book.

So what do I tell Isaac to do while he is on campus? Here are a list of idea’s that I think are very helpful for parents and students as they navigate this important step.

Take a campus tour
Talk with students and faculty
Attend a sporting event, if possible
Check out the stuff that is important to you(e.g.,dorms, libraries,student unions, athletic facilities).

Questions to ask when talking to students:

How many hours do you study a night?
Are on-campus jobs easily available?
Do you feel the faculty is interested in students and accessible outside of class?
Do many students go home on weekends?
How is the food?
How easy is it to get the classes you want?
What do you like best about this college? least?
Why did you choose this college? Would you choose it again?

Questions to ask when visiting a class:

Do students participate?
Is there a good rapport between professors and students?
Is there time for questions and discussions?
Would I feel comfortable as a student in this setting?

Questions to ask when touring the campus:

Are the older buildings in good repair?
Are there new buildings as well as older ones?
Is the technology up-to-date? Are the computers accessible and plentiful?
Are the rooms in the residence halls attractive?
What is the surrounding town or city like?
Would I feel comfortable here?

Questions to ask when the visit is over:

Were the people friendly and did they answer your questions fully and candidly?
Did you feel the students were the kind of people you would like to get to know?
Did you sense that the college was interested in having you as a student?
Did you like the social atmosphere?
Did the campus impress you in any way?
What do you feel about the academic demands and atmosphere?
Was there anything you did not like? How important is that to you?
Would you like to spend more time here? The next four years?

Isaac read this and rolled his eyes, “is that all?” he asks. I laugh and tell him I really only just began. If nothing else, he has at least read this, so somewhere in that teenage brain of his he might actually process many of the suggestions without ever having to admit it. It is an exciting time and a scary time. I know for me, I could never go to a college I had not visited at least once. This is his first and we have three more on his short list to go. I will keep you posted to how it goes!


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Go Isaac! I have fond memories of those college visits. Especially LOVING the University of Colorado at Boulder and having my dad offhandedly remark, “This really reminds me of the University of Washington.” Devastating at that moment (I wanted to go AWAY to school), but awesome in the end when I ended up at UW and he was totally right.

Comment by Alissa

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