Reasons to Visit Campus
Jul18

Reasons to Visit Campus

  Why should I read the book when I can watch the movie?  We've all heard that question before and we all know the answer: because the experience is not the same and the movie version does not tell the whole story.  The same answer applies to "Why should I visit campus when I can watch YouTube videos or take a virtual tour?" The 3-6 minute movie version is not going to tell the same story as the one you experience first-hand when you tour a college campus.  Here are a few more reasons to visit campus in person: To discover what you like. To discover what you don't like. To meet your admissions counselor. To talk with students attending the college. To meet and talk with faculty. To check out the space: dorm rooms, classrooms, labs, athletic, music and theatre facilities. To get questions answered or to connect with someone who can answer your questions.  And, of course, to see the campus through your own eyes not through the eyes of the person who made the movie.  Make a movie about your campus visit experience if you want (this could be a great way to capture how you felt and what you liked while visiting), but don't let your research into which college to attend be limited to a movie someone else made. See for yourself. Visit...

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Western Michigan University – A College Visit Story
Apr20

Western Michigan University – A College Visit Story

A new installment in our Parent-to-Parent series The idea of college and our first college visit seemed to be a bit more exciting to me than it did to my sleepy high school junior as we set off at 5am for the three and one-half hour drive to Kalamazoo, Michigan and Western Michigan University (WMU).  Having a friend along seemed to perk him up and having another mom on the long drive was great for me.   The program we signed up for was for high school juniors and their parents to check out the university and delve deeper into the college decision process.   As soon as we parked and started towards the building where we had been instructed to register, we were greeted by smiling faces of current students as well as staff members.  My very first impression of WMU was one of positive students, and lots of them. During the first 90 minutes of our program, we listened to 11 different speakers.  These included admissions reps, the president of the university, a current professor, the director of parent and family programs, a rep promoting the city of Kalamazoo, and several student speakers.   My son's favorite parts of the program were the student speakers. He liked hearing why they chose WMU and also why they stayed. I loved listening to the students also, but there were other things about the presentation really made an impression on me. The first was WMU's president, Mr. John Dunn.  He spoke from his heart, stressed how his university helps develop students in several different ways. And then  the best part: he gave us his email address and told us that he personally answers all his emails and loves to hear from parents and students. His sincerity truly touched me. I also appreciated the director of parent and family programs who said, "We want you to PLAN, not PANIC."  That was priceless and because she spoke as a mom of a college and high school student, it made her even more personal and believable. Next were the student led walking campus tours. Our happy tour guide was Emily. Emily had a nice loud clear voice and did a wonderful job showing us the campus.  The WMU campus is beautiful, but very hilly and VERY large.   We toured a dorm and were invited into a room where the two residents were waiting for us and graciously answered our questions.  At this point, parents were asking more questions than students, but our whole group seemed impressed and happy with the tour. We also were able to walk into different lecture halls, classrooms, a...

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Meeting of the Minds at Carnegie Mellon University
Mar22

Meeting of the Minds at Carnegie Mellon University

by Lisa Warren Late April and early May bring the end of the academic year to many college campuses, while for high schools the final push comes a bit later. For those who can swing it, late-spring college visits may provide exciting opportunities. Timing and planning a trip can be tricky, though: Activities like student-led campus tours might be unavailable when classes are not in session, such as on “reading days”* and during final exams.  Celebrating innovation and creativityAt Carnegie Mellon University, renowned for its ground-breaking research and for combining disciplines such as the arts and technology, the end-of-the-year “Meeting of the Minds” symposium on undergraduate research takes place on a Reading Day–May 4, 2011, this year. The symposium celebrates undergraduate scholarship, innovation, and creativity. It is sponsored by the Undergraduate Research Office, which provides advising, grant funding for student research projects, and assistance with national and international scholarship and fellowship program application processes. Meeting of the Minds draws more than 400 undergraduate student participants, from freshman to senior level, and from a wide range of majors. Individuals and small teams give oral “PowerPoint” presentations and present posters, exhibits, films, demonstrations, performances and more at this popular annual event. Competitive types can also register for one of the Special Competitions and compete for cash prizes. Thousands of fellow students, faculty, and interested visitors circulate throughout the day, meeting the student researchers and learning about their original projects. Meeting of the Minds is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the University Center on the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, campus. Enlightening, thrilling, life-changingA small sampling of current and recent undergraduate research projects can be found here.  Among those profiled is Rachel Inman, a fifth-year senior from South Carolina, and her “My City, My Block” industrial design project. Describing the significance of the URO’s support for undergraduate student research, Rachel says, “Each year, I would visit Meeting of the Minds, walking through the exhibit spaces, and discussing the projects with my peers. It was not until spring of my junior year that I decided I wanted to undertake my own research project. . . . My SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) project not only allowed me to take an idea from initial planning stages to completion, but also pushed me to resolve how I planned to present my findings to both experts and novices.” When asked to describe in one word her experiences as an undergraduate involved in research,Rachel said, “Enlightening.” Other students chose words like “Thrilling,” “Incredible,” “Life-changing,” and “Vital.” Students and families who are similarly excited about undergraduate research opportunities but are unable to attend CMU’s Meeting of the Minds on May 4 should contact or make plans to visit the Undergraduate Research Office at Carnegie Mellon University. Tip: If you visit...

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Visiting College Campuses
Feb23

Visiting College Campuses

By: Jeannie Borin, M.Ed. College-Connections It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the many buildings, programs and informational tours. A preplanned checklist of what you want to see is a good idea.  Here are some things to look out for while you tour different colleges. Admission Criteria Requirements and What to Include with Application When to Apply GPA & Test Scores (if required) Scholarships Offered Student Support/Counseling Center Academics Professor Availability Popular Programs Average Size of Class (ratio to student) Possible Internships Study Abroad Opportunities Available Technology Library Facilities  Campus Life Greek–Fraternities/Sororities Weekend Activities Special Campus Events How Many Students Live on Campus? Commute? Sport Events Dining Facilities Party Scene   Campus Setting Where is College Located? Too Remote? Too Urban? Near a City? What is Surrounding Community Like? Campus Town? -  Look of the College Dorms and Nearby Housing Lecture Halls & Classrooms Clean, Easy Access, Transportation Libraries Security & Safety, Campus Police Availability Current Building Projects How Well Are Current Facilities Maintained? Recreation Center  While visiting, here are some additional suggestions: Take a campus informational tour. Set up an interview with an admission officer. Audit a course. Speak with a professor or representative at the department in your field of interest. If you are pursuing athletics, talk to a coach in your sport. If possible, stay overnight in a dorm with a friend or relative. Pick up the campus newspaper. Spend time in the Student Union and eat in the cafeteria. Speak to students and ask questions. Find the center of campus and have a seat for 30 minutes. Take a look at the college bookstore. Ask a student what he/she loves and hates about the college. Tour the community surrounding the campus. Ask a student if you can see their dorm room. Ask yourself if you could feel at home at this college. Take lots of notes and pictures. Most importantly: Enjoy Yourself! Jeannie Borin, M.Ed., is founder of College-Connections, a Professional College and Educational consulting firm and also a frequent participant in...

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College Tour Tip: Visit the Campus Bookstore
Nov26

College Tour Tip: Visit the Campus Bookstore

College-branded hoodies and T's, ballcaps, bobbleheads, figurines, coffee, snacks, computers, cell phones, and, of course, textbooks are just a few of the things you're likely to find in the campus bookstore. Be sure to allow for enough time during your campus visit to wander through the bookstore.  College and university bookstores offer a grand selection of memorabilia to make your campus tour something you'll remember well when it comes time to apply to college! Other College Tour Tips: Let the Kids do the Talking Remember the 2-2-2 Rule Ask Why? Have you been on college tour or campus visit recently? What advice do you have to share with teens and parents of the college-bound? Please, use the Comments button to share your thoughts. Pictured: University Bookstore banner at Virginia Tech....

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College Tour: Parent Notes from 3 Campus Visits
Nov17

College Tour: Parent Notes from 3 Campus Visits

Real Mom/Real College Visits A parent of a high school senior shares her notes from three days of college visits touring out-of-state schools: School #1: Went on a Sunday. Student just took us on a tour of the campus. School #2: Went on Monday. Great slide show while we were waiting for admissions person to talk to pm group. Emphasis on what famous people have graduated and what graduates have done. Had to drive to place where we were put on a bus to tour campus: 1/2 by bus, 1/2 by walking. School #3: Went on Tuesday. OK slide show. Admissions person went over numbers, but didn't know a whole lot (not impressed – he should have really been selling the place). Student took group on 2 hr tour of campus. She knew more than the admiss guy.   What can parents takeaway from this family's college tour experience? If you visit when classes are not in session (ex: on Sundays, holidays, or during semester breaks), you won't have access to the same quality of information or visit experience compared to visiting during scheduled visit days. Quality of experience matters and a host who knows the school well, and can answer parents' questions or can get answers quickly makes a good impression. Tour guides matter, too. Teens relate to the college student tour guides and a knowledgeable friendly guide will often have the greatest influence over whether or not the college tour made a strong impression.  Which school do you think made the best impression on the prospective...

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