Spring break is coming and for any family with a high school junior, that means it’s time for a road trip. This is part two of my suggestions on how to make the most of campus visits:

Let them know you’re there – make sure you register in the admissions office so they have a record of your visit. Collect the business card of the admissions representative from your geographic area.

Suggest that your son or daughter be bold and ask a small group of students these questions:

Where else did you apply?

Which schools were you choosing between?

Why did you choose to come here?

What’s your favorite part of your college experience thus far?

What one thing would you change about this college, if you could?

What do they do on weekends?

Are most students happy there?

Are they studying more or less than they anticipated?

Responses will be very revealing.

Take an “unofficial” tour. Check out the freshman dormitories and visit the fitness facilities if they weren’t on the tour. There might be a reason why they didn’t take you there.

Visit a class and/or meet with a coach or professor. Make sure to schedule these options separately, and notify the admissions office of your plans. The opportunity to sit in on a class is the best reason to arrange your trips during spring break. Most colleges will be impressed with your initiative for going above and beyond the typical visit.

Consider an overnight visit. Having students spend time with other students without parents and admissions officials hovering is the best way for a student to truthfully evaluate college-fit.

Prospective students will be able to check out the vibe in the dorms, dining halls, classrooms and on campus overall. Most students walk away from an overnight visit with a much more defined opinion.

Pack a camera and a notebook. I know it sounds a little lame, but you really need to take notes and snap photos. This is especially true if you are seeing multiple colleges during the week.

Send a thank-you note. If you had an opportunity to introduce yourself to someone in admissions, follow-up with a handwritten note.

The big question in the end is whether or not the student feels comfortable on that specific campus. When they close their eyes, can they see

More Information
College Fair is Sunday — The National College Fair is coming to Charlotte this Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at The Park (formerly the Charlotte Merchandise Mart). The fair is free and you can attend workshops, meet college reps, and collect information on financial aid and scholarships. Find a list of participating colleges at www.nacacnet.org, search Charlotte College Fair.themselves there?

Lee Bierer is an independent college counselor based in Charlotte. Questions: lee@collegeadmissionsstrategies.com www.collegeadmissionsstrategies.com


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"I started working with Lee in September of my senior year. Before meeting with Lee, I had no idea where I wanted to go to, which colleges offered my major, the selectivity to be accepted at each college and I certainly was overwhelmed with the whole application process. Lee made the college process so much less stressful. i realized that there was more to getting into college than just filling out the application. Lee really helped me market my strengths. She helped me put together an application that showed that there was more to me than just my SAT scores and my GPA. Lee helped me with all aspects of getting into college, from editing my essays to researching the colleges that suited me the best. Lee understood that we were in a time crunch and really helped me utilize my time. With Lee’s good time management skills and expansive knowledge on the application process , I got into my dream college!! I cannot thank Lee enough for her dedication, commitment and time! I could not have done it without her!"
2007 graduate


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