What should parents do during campus visits?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

What should parents do during campus visits?

Lisa Smith

What should parents do during campus visits?

The first no-no on a campus visit is the royal “we.” The student is the one who will be going to the college. Do not say things like, “We just love your school,” “We don’t know what we will major in,” or “We just took our SAT.” The student is the applicant so the student should do the talking and ask the questions. The correct pronoun is “I,” and it comes from the mouth of the student! The second no-no is the parent who speaks and “does” for their student. The student should sign in. The student should introduce her/himself. The student should ask questions.

The third no-no: do not go into the interview with your student! The admission counselor is asking you in to be polite…they really want to speak to your student, not you. The interview is an important factor for your student, especially at the smaller schools. Don’t embarrass your student by going in with them! The fourth no-no: do not complain or whine about the campus, the application, or about the cost! Your job during the visit is to support your student, ask pertinent questions, gather information quietly, and stay in the background. The fifth and most important no-no is: do not sell your student! The campus visit and interview is not the time and place for you to try and get your student admitted.

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

What should parents do during campus visits?

Parents should be a help rather than a hindrance on college visits. I went on numerous visits with my son, and I was quiet and respectful during information sessions and always showed my appreciation to tour guides. (I remember that special request, "Now Mom, don't embarrass me!") Parents are often good note takers as well, so perhaps that can be the parent's assigned job. This is especially true if you are seeing a number of schools. A parent should prompt the student about a particular question or issue and can remind the student to sign a guest book or ask for a business card in the admissions office. When the visit is over, the parent should wait to be asked for his or her opinion to have healthy dialogue with the prospective applicant.

Cathy McMeekan

Parents on campus - an extra set of eyes and ears

While the student needs to take charge of the campus visit, parents can be a great second set of eyes/ears. Touring with your student is fine - just let them ask the questions! If you do have questions, make sure you are letting the students in the group have opportunities first to ask their questions. Parents always have safety questions - and almost always that information can be found on the schools websites and in their literature. All campuses have a blue light system and most have some kind of after hours escort service to get the students back to their residences safely. While on the tours parents should observe activity they see on campus; your student might be focused on what the tour guide is saying and miss some of what is happening. In an information session another set of ears is helpful; parents might pick up on something the student did not. If your student has an interview let them do it on their own and take the opportunity to walk around campus, stop and chat to students and get a sense of the campus vibe. After your visit you can discuss with your student what you saw and heard; it might be different or might reinforce what they learned or felt about the campus.

Amy Feins
owner AMF College Consulting

I don't know you!

What should parents do on campus visits? Take a separate tour!! Don't embarass your child. Turn off your cell phone. Don't keep talking about what college was like when YOu were a student. Don't embarass your child. Don't ask about partying or drinking on the tour, save that for a private conversation with an admissons officer. Don't say "we". Don't speak for your child. Don't try to be funny, or smart, or hip. Just hang back and listen. DO ask questions, when the time is right, about financial aid or scholarships. DO let your child take the lead. DO look around and see how the students act on the campus. Would your child be happy here? Do the students look happy? You can learn a lot by just observing.

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

What should parents do during campus visits?

visit departments and check out the activities. speak to student advisory, ask about rention and graduation rate, find out more information about carrer placement services, and have lunch at the student center

Dr. Christine Hand - Gonzales
Author of Interactive Resource eBook College Bound: Proven Ways to Plan and Prepare for Getting Into the College of Your Dreams (over 1200 live links), companion workbook - My College Bound Plan, College Planning Blog - http://www.college-path.com: and College Planning Consultant College Path LLC

Two Roles, One Visit...

Both the parents and the child have a role during the campus visit. As parents, you will certainly want to know if the institution will be the best fit for your child. You may want to know how your child's needs will be met both academically and socially. Do they have the major their child wants to study? How about internship and study abroad opportunities? What about the money? Does the school offer financial aid and scholarships? Let you children shine during the information session and while on tour. You will have time to ask your questions as well. While on the visit, spend some time meeting the financial aid representative while your child develops your relationship with his or her admissions representative. Enjoy the visit and compare notes at the end. Communication is the key to reducing the stress in the search process.

Maureen Lawler
College Counselor Bishop Kelley High

Parents should be involved in the campus visit

Parents should be involved in the college process including the campus visit. Prior to the visit sit down with your child and discuss it. Discuss questions to ask if the guide does not address your concerns or needs; but, let your child ask the questions not you. The campus visit is the time for your child to see if the school is a good fit.Take note of the things that are important to you. Once the visit is over talk about everyone's likes and dislikes. Let your child be the leader not you.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

Lay Low

As much experience, knowledge and good intentions that you have -- try to keep a low profile during a campus visit. Let your student be the leader and the main driver of the process. If you have questions, you should certainly ask them as well -- but remember -- you don't want to be the overbearing parent that we all know who monopolizes a Q&A session with the admissions staff or who expounds on their opinions/experiences during a campus tour. Overstepping your bounds doesn't help anyone -- and it certainly makes for a very long and uncomfortable car ride home with your teenager!

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Parents on Campus Visits

As a parent touring colleges, you will be best served if you look but don't speak. The last thing you want to do is embarrass Johnny with your questions. Along with that, please give Susie time to process the visit before hitting her up for her impressions. They will share their feelings when they are ready. It is important that you keep your thoughts to yourself until your opinion is solicited or you just can't keep quiet any longer. Remember you aren't the one going to college, this is their decision.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Parents and campus visits

Parents should smile, be proud of their child, and let their child ask the questions and make the comments. The child should sign in at the admission office. Parents should be polite and friendly with everyone on campus visits, but do nothing to upstage their child. I have a blog on this topic that I believe all parents should read, it is the list of what parents should NOT do on a campus visit. http://collegeadventures.net/blog/2009/08/11/campus-visitswhat-parents/