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College Tour Itinerary: Don’t Leave Home Without It

Posted on 03/12/2018, by Dr. Ellen Fithian to Parents of 9th Graders, Parents of 10th Graders, Parents of 11th Graders (0 comments)

Ever tried to make last-minute dinner reservations on Valentine's Day? You start with your favorite restaurant and six calls later settle for take-out pizza from Domino's. When hordes of people are vying for limited places, free spirits tend to finish last. So if you want to maximize both the efficiency and enjoyment of your college tour, take the time now to plan it down to the last detail.

Begin by making a tentative list of the schools you’d like to visit. Ideally, don’t aim to visit more than one each day, but if circumstances dictate that you must, at least try to keep the total number to no more than four or five. Once you’ve got your list, you’re ready to start creating your itinerary.

Step 1: Do Preliminary Research

Make a College Information Sheet containing the following items for each college. I like to use a spreadsheet for this sort of task, but any format that works for you is fine. You can find all this information in the Admissions section of the college website. There’s usually a link entitled Visit.

Information to be collected for each school:
Address of the Admissions Office
Information Sessions:
     Dates and times offered
     Do you need to make an advance appointment?
Campus Tours:
     Dates and times offered
     Do you need to make an advance appointment?
Campus Parking:
     Where are you allowed to park?

Step 2: Create Your Itinerary

You’ve picked your colleges and collected the necessary information. Next you’ll want to plan your route. Use Google maps - or your preferred app for driving directions - to plan your route and figure out how to get from school to school in time for the information sessions and tours. Always plan to arrive early. If there's one constant about college campuses, it's that parking is usually limited, especially during spring break week.

Once you've created your itinerary, go back to your information sheet to determine whether any of the colleges on your list requires you to make reservations in advance for information sessions or tours. Do so where necessary.

Finally, don’t forget to make reservations for any overnight accommodations you’ll need. One good resource is often the Admissions web pages of the colleges; some have accommodations for visitors right on campus and others provide information about hotels and motels that are within walking distance. If you don’t find what you’re looking for on the Admissions site, use Expedia, Tripadvisor, Yelp, or other online travel service.

Right about now, many of you are thinking that planning this tour sounds about as appealing as re-organizing your closet. I get that. As I mentioned in the previous article about the spring campus tour circuit, I’m a big fan of the laid-back, unstructured road trip. But if you’re going to be visiting several colleges during the same week as throngs of other families, I think you’ll find that the investment in advance planning will pay off in the form of a more relaxing and enjoyable experience. 

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Posted on 03/12/2018, by Dr. Ellen Fithian (0 comments)




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