Who should come with you on college visits?

College Search

Our counselors answered:

Who should come with you on college visits?

Rod Bugarin
Former Admissions Officer Columbia, Brown, and Wesleyan University

Who should come with you on college visits?

Here is my video response to the question.

Scott White
Director of Guidance Montclair High School

Who should come with you on college visits?

A parent or peers are good for the first visit, but you should go alone for a second visit where you may be staying over night.

William Chichester

Who should come with you on college visits?

Your parents

Juliet Giglio
Montgomery Educational Consulting

Who should come with you on college visits?

One of your parents should join you on the college visit. If possible, bring the parent who is more knowledgeable about the college process.

Michelle Green
Admissions Consultant My College Admissions Coach

Parents and high school students...

and possibly a younger sibling that is close to high school age can be a good addition to the group. It can help cut down on costs and make it considerably easier for younger siblings to have a good sense of what colleges are like, often even before high school begins! I have found that younger kids who visit colleges with older siblings often have a better understanding of why it's important to work hard in high school and what the end prize is - going to a great college! However, if the kids are too young, leave them at home. It's okay to take a friend on the visit if you are both considering the same school - however, remember, the purpose of the visit is to get a sense of whether or not this school is right for you. If having a friend along will distract you from your mission to learn about the school, then don't take them with you! Also - don't forget a notepad, a camera or cameraphone and a pen. You will forget key details about the campus visit if you don't document them. Most of my students like to take pictures of what the campus is like to review later on.

Wendy Andreen, PhD
College & Career Planning

Enjoy Your College Visit!

A parent (or both), guardian, or close relative who participates in your life should be part of your college visit. This is not the time to keep them at arms length. I've seen students who are experiencing temporary 'teenage angst issues' and think they don't need their parents' help. I've also seen well-intentioned but overbearing parents who think they know best which college their child should attend. Parents, please don't push your alma mater on your student. Visiting colleges should be a positive and open-minded experience - for everyone. Enjoy the tour, listen to the admissions officer's presentation, but take time to wander around on your own. Parents - resist the urge to ask all of the questions. Take time before you get to campus to review questions as a family and students, YOU, ask the questions. Let the parent quietly take notes in the background. Take your own pictures - always helpful after visiting several campuses to have some visual reminders. I ask students to be brave and ask at least two questions of some random students (tour guide is ok but ask someone who is not the 'ambassador' for the college): 1. What made you decide to attend this college? 2. What do you wish you had known about this college before you got here (or, what don't you like)? College students are generally very honest and willing to answer prospective students' questions. Enjoy the journey! Consider the possibilities!

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

Companions on College Visits

Probably not your best friend. Choosing a college is such a personal decision. It is best to experience a campus' culture without your high school buddy. After all, chance are slim that you will be attending the same school next year! College Visits are also a time when your parents can be really helpful--leave the coordination of the trip up to them. You take care of the exploration!

Erin Avery
Certified Educational Planner Avery Educational Resources, LLC

Stakeholders Welcome

One or both parents may enjoy accompanying the student on his/her college visits, but ensure that they are clear exactly whose college visit it is. In a matter of months, that prospective student will be college student. Living into that change can begin during these vital visits.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Someone who will look, but not speak

I encourage parents to let the student drive the show when visiting campus. Hang back, save your questions for later, allow the applicant time to process all the information. While mom and dad are common chaperones to campus, grandparents and aunts/uncles can often be best. At this stressful time, mom and dad are often perceived to be uninformed, thus their questions could be oh so embarrassing! Extended family has the luxury of not being so closely invested in the process, so may actually make better observations and know when to share them. My number one rule is that once you've left campus, wait for the student to volunteer their thoughts. Don't start asking questions or sharing your impressions, until the student has had a chance to digest everything they just experienced.

Francine Schwartz
Founder/ President Pathfinder Counseling LLC

Who should come with you on college visits?

I am a big proponent of students and parents touring colleges together. The time spent traveling to schools is often a wonderful time to spend talking about future plans and cementing bonds. That being said it is important for parents to take a back seat and let the student ask and answer questions. And of course parents can always wait and see if another parent will ask questions, thus sparing your child the "embarrassment " of having their parent speak up!