Mod Squad Pete started revisiting campuses. Here’s where we are, August 1:
- three months away from Pete’s first Early Action deadline,
- three weeks or so away from the start of his senior year in high school, and
- two weeks away from a road-trip to New England for a family reunion.
Right now we need to decide if Pete should see any more colleges and, of those he’s already seen, which he should revisit. The discussion launched on that topic could fill two or three blog posts, so I’ll just stick to why it makes sense for him to go back to a few colleges.
1. To indicate interest. Some colleges track his points of contact: visits, email responses, conversations with admissions counselors, meetings with professors, etc. CollegeData’s Admissions details provide that information for each college. In our state, Virginia, you could look at UVA‘s ‘Selection of Students’ here and see that the ‘Level of Applicant’s Interest’ is not considered. American University, just a bit further up the road in DC, indicates the the ‘Level of Applicant’s Interest’ is very important to them.
2. To attend an open house or preview day. Many of Pete’s college visits were booked around our schedule, not that of the college. If he visited a college for the standard admissions information session and tour during Spring Break (and he did many then), he may have the opportunity to learn more, see more, and meet more people at a formal prospective student event.
3. To talk with a professor. He was able to book a few meetings with professors during some initial visits. We paid much closer attention to this ahead of long-distance visits last summer. Now it’s time for Pete to make contact with professors in his area(s) of interest and find out if a particular college and what he might study there fits with their impression of the college and of Pete.
4. To talk with a current student. Some colleges offer interviews with current students — the College of William & Mary provides that opportunity to rising HS seniors. Here’s why, and here’s the Washington Post‘s story about it.
5. To allow the second parent an opportunity to see the school. It may seem as if our entire household is consumed with this college stuff, but — like most households with school-age children — there are many other school, extracurricular, work, and life activities competing for attention. We’ve visited a number of colleges on family road-trips, but most of the formal admission visits have been made with one parent and M. S. Pete. Colleges that maintain a lock on his short-list deserve a look from parent number two.
6. To repair, if possible, a bad first impression. I know we should not dismiss a college based upon a bad tour guide experience, but it’s hard to get past that. Pete and I toured a school on his HS guidance counselor’s recommendation. She had good reasons: it fit the profile Pete had in mind, she’d been impressed on a recent visit, she thought the student-prof connections Pete values could be made there, it’s a beautiful campus, and more.
We booked a visit, asked questions at the info session, and set off with a current student tour guide who simpered, giggled, apologized, and giggled some more. She was a very nice young woman, she loved her school, she gave a good tour, and I could not wait to get away. I know better than to think the entire school is as naive as this one student. Should we go back and give it another try? Probably.
Help me out here. Why else should Pete revisit a college? Please keep in mind: he needs a very good argument to add anything to his college to do list at this point.