Limited $$ for Visits

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Discus: College Search and Selection: April 2004 Archive: Limited $$ for Visits
By Boxmaker1917 (Boxmaker1917) on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 04:47 pm: Edit

My daughter will be narrowing her list of colleges over the summer. However, even with a "short" list, her top 3 of 4 choices require airfare in order to visit the campus. Right now, that is prohibitively expensive. I learned of "taped" visits on this board (thank you CC!) but nothing beats the real thing.

How common is it for students to wait until they are ACCEPTED (and learn whether they can afford to attend) before they visit a campus?

By Grace226 (Grace226) on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 04:52 pm: Edit

extremely common, if it is costly to visit the school in person, just look for info from current students,the university, and the internet. It is a waste of money to visit and then to fall in love with the campus and then get rejected.

By I1lmatics (I1lmatics) on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 06:47 pm: Edit

i personally did not visit a single campus pre-acceptance ... its pretty much pointless, you can get a good idea if the school is in the right ballpark for you by using the internet and reading books, save the $$ and apply to an additional 2-3 schools that you think you may like to be safe... visit once you are accepted, chances are even if you made a pre-acceptance visit, you are going to have to revisit a second time after acceptance

...on a side note it helps with rejection becuase you don't get your hopes all set on one school

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 06:58 pm: Edit

I sent my son on a bunch of college visits over spring break. He visited LA, Santa Fe, Ann Arbor, and Chicago coming from the east coast. It cost a little over $700. I booked the flight 2 months early and we contacted kids he knew or graduated from his school at each city and he stayed in the dorm on the floor with them. He used a lot of public transportation and ate cheaply. He visited 8 colleges and really got a good flavor of each of them.

He also hitched a ride with a family visiting Boston and planned to take the train home. He visited 4 schools in Boston, but ended up meeting another family on tour at one of the colleges and they insisted on having him stay at the hotel with their son who is a classmate of my son. That really blew his budget as he ended up paying for some amenities that would not have come up had he stayed at a dorm at BU with a friend. Even though the family picked up most of his tab, he went through his money, but still made out as they drove him home instead of his having to take the train. Get your feelers out and tell you child to do the same. By sharing rides and making arrangements in advance you can save a lot of money on college visits.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 07:56 pm: Edit

I'll disagree with the tide: my D found it *extremely* helpful to visit before being accepted. Visting campuses dropped schools off the list, added schools to the list, and in several instances clarified issues that were/weren't important in a way that would not have happened without the campus visits.

Was it expensive? Frankly, yes.

Was it worth it? (for her), definitely.

[Posted from on the road while D is visiting her two finalists.]

By Boxmaker1917 (Boxmaker1917) on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 08:38 pm: Edit

TheDad --
Just curious as to how the roadtrip added colleges to your daughter's list. Also, we are in the "eligible for Pell grant" financial category so the cost/benefit ratio of expensive/worthwhile might be different for our family.

By Texas137 (Texas137) on Wednesday, April 14, 2004 - 08:42 pm: Edit

if you decide to put off visits until after financial aid offers are in, be sure and get the aid paper work in as early as possible, or you may be left with only a week or two after the aid offers and before the May 1 deadline to get the visits in.

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 10:57 pm: Edit

The best guidebooks (Fiske; Princeton Review) describe the colleges in them very accurately. But some schools, mainly LACs, are very upfront about "expressed interest" being a factor in their acceptances and at those schools visits can be very important.

If there is a school like that on your list and a visit can't be managed, make sure your D visits with any college representatives that come within 50 miles of where you live and that she makes some sort of connection with an admissions representative at that school (phone, letter; e-mail). Also, she should do a local alumni interview if they are offered, even if they are not evaluative.

By Angel_Girl (Angel_Girl) on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 11:14 pm: Edit

I just went on a college hunt myself. I waited til I was admitted because that really narrows down you choices and it is a waste of time to see the places before because there is no gurantee that you will actually make it in. I can be pretty costly. I had to travel myself to Penn and Cornell and it was quite a lot already. I would advice waiting til she gets accepted :)

By Jrmom (Jrmom) on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 09:23 am: Edit

How do you know at which schools "expressed interest" is a factor? We're visiting two schools (no time or money for more visits than that, pre-application) for that reason (also to get a feel for two different types of campuses) but I really have no idea if visiting as a junior helps at all.

I found one school's website that said flat out "we take your on-campus visit as a good sign of interest in our school" but no other schools said anything like that.

By Arizonamom (Arizonamom) on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 10:35 am: Edit

There are other ways to express interst other then visit ie send for a video of their school if they have one, go to a college fair and talk to a rep, e-mail your rep questions, check many college books and web sites for suggestions on meaningful questions. If you have the money to visit great but for the schools in the south and east we waited to make sure my S got in first and then when schools like Emory gave no aid we didn't bother at all. Also get a list from your high school of recent grads who attended the college you're interested in. E-mail them,many apps ask who you have corresponded with from their school, talk to alumni, e-mail profs, heads of departments etc. I would however visit colleges nearby, or while on vacations just to get an idea of the size, indiv. preferences etc. Schools do recognize that money is an issue for many re: visiting. Good luck!

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