Autor: Gail Grand, The College Advisor, Inc.
College Visit Tips for Students
There’s no substitute to visiting a college and spending time on campus to tell you whether a particular college is right for you. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your campus visits.
Talk to students besides the tour guide. Although it may be tough to strike up a conversation with students on a busy campus, make the effort. Tour guides give you the “official” story of life on campus, but you want to know what it’s really like to go to school there. Two good questions to ask: “If you could do it over, would you pick this school again?” and “How do you spend your time on weekends?”
Peek into a “real” dorm room and bathroom. If you can, check out a dorm room and dorm bathroom besides the one they show on the tour. Can you see yourself living here?
Eat in a student dining hall. Four years is a long time to go without eating, so while you’re visiting campus, see if it’s possible to have a meal in a campus dining hall. Dining halls are also often good places to get a sense of the social atmosphere on campus.
Spend time walking around campus on your own. Sure, you’ll probably be visiting with your parents, but when you actually go to college, mom and dad won’t be coming with you. So, at some point during your time on campus, break away from your parents and walk around on your own for 15-20 minutes. Ask yourself: Can I see myself being comfortable here for four years?
Talk to a professor and sit in on a class. Before your visit, ask the admissions office if it is possible for you to meet with a professor in your potential major and sit in on a class. While this might seem intimidating, you’ll learn much more about the academic atmosphere on campus this way then you will from just going on the tour or attending the formal admissions presentation.
Read campus bulletin boards. Campus bulletin boards often contain clues about campus social life, the political hot buttons of students, and even whether it’s easy to find a ride home to where you live for spring break. The student union is a particularly good place to peruse bulletin boards.
Grab a copy of the student newspaper. You’ll usually find the student newspaper in a rack near the door of the main library or student union. Don’t leave campus without getting hold of the latest issue. Read it for insight into life on campus. You’ll want to keep up with the online editions of the newspapers from the colleges that interest you most.
Explore the surrounding area. You’ll want to get off campus from time to time so once you’ve seen the campus, check out the local neighborhood. What’s within walking distance of campus? Do you feel safe walking in the surrounding area? How friendly are the locals?
Write down your impressions and take pictures. After a few campus visits, you’ll begin to blur colleges together in your mind. As soon as possible after your visit, write down your impressions of each school for future reference. Take your camera (or cell phone) and snap as many pictures as you can of whatever catches your eye. When you’re trying to answer application essay questions about why you want to attend this school, you’ll be glad to have your notes and the photos to refer back to.
College Visit Tips for Parents
Touring prospective colleges is a rite of passage for many families and an important part of the college admission process. Here are some tips to help parents plan a successful college visit trip.
Be selective. Less is actually more when it comes to college visits; visiting twenty colleges (or more!) can be counter-productive and confusing. Instead, focus on visiting the schools that seem like the best fits for your child while being sure to include a good mix of admission safe bets, realistic matches, and reaches.
Be realistic. Most students find campus visits tiring and a bit overwhelming. Aim for no more than two campus visits each day; one visit a day is even better, unless the colleges are located very close to each other. Allow at least three hours for each visit, including time to wander around campus and explore the surrounding area after the official tour. A visit may take up most of the day if your child is going to be meeting with an admissions officer or a faculty member, sitting in on a class, or attending a more formal admission presentation.
Be flexible. Almost every parent who has ever accompanied their child on a college tour has a story about the college (or colleges) where their child simply would not get out of the car. When this happens, just calmly move on to the next school.
Blend into the background. A campus visit is a chance for your child to “try on” their future. Blend into the background while you’re on campus. Let your child ask the questions and walk up front next to the tour guide, while you hang in the back of the tour group. Most important of all: give your child some space and time to walk around campus on their own after the formal tour.
If your child will be interviewing with admissions while you are on campus, remember this is your child’s interview, not yours! While most admission officers will invite parents in to say hello at the end of the interview, this is not an invitation to chime in with things you think admission should know about your child. Similarly, if you and your child will be talking to a coach, visiting academic departments, or stopping by the office of disabilities services, let your child take the lead. This will help your child develop the self-confident, pro-active interpersonal skills necessary for college success.
Visit the financial aid office, the security office, and the career services office. Most families visit the admission office while on campus, but few think to pay a visit to the financial aid office, the security office, or career services. Yet, these stops give parents the chance to ask important questions about financial aid, campus safety, and the school’s record of helping graduates find jobs. These stops are a good time to “divide and conquer.” Let your child explore the campus while you visit these offices for a quick chat.
Keep an open mind. Some colleges will likely resonate with you, but not your child – and vice versa. Expect this, and try to keep an open mind. Be careful about assuming that your reaction is the right one, or rushing to voice your opinions before your child expresses his or hers. Help your child reflect on the visit by asking open-ended questions about what they saw, heard, and thought while on campus. Listen carefully to your child’s reactions before sharing your own impressions.
Enjoy this journey with your child. Yes, this trip is about visiting colleges, but it is also a chance to spend some special time with your child before they head off into adulthood. As you visit colleges together, try to build in some downtime and fun activities that have nothing to do with college and enjoy each other’s company on this exciting journey.
SAT: March 11, 2023
Freshman - Juniors: Make plans for a productive summer. Investigate summer programs, jobs, internships
Juniors: Create an initial list of colleges
ACT: April 15, 2023 (register by March 10th)
• Visit college campuses
• Prepare for AP Exams
• Final letters of acceptance should arrive by the beginning of April
• Compare offers of admission; revisit top choices if possible
• Evaluate financial aid packages and consider college funding options
• Notify the colleges that you will not attend and take some time to thank those who wrote your letters of recommendation
Focus on Majors: International Business
As our world becomes more connected through technology and the global marketplace, the demand for workers possessing degrees in International Business is growing rapidly. Many domestic corporations are currently establishing offices overseas, and they need culturally competent and well-trained business people to act as representatives for their companies. International Business graduates are likely to be responsible for facilitating communications and business deals; especially needed are those with a high degree of both expertise in their field and cultural sensitivity. Successful employees should demonstrate strong leadership skills, consistently ethical behavior, and adaptability to rapidly evolving technologies. Put simply, this career is all about learning how to effectively conduct business on the global scale.
Although there are certainly many jobs available to those who earn their Bachelors’ degrees in International Business, obtaining a Master in Business Administration (MBA) or a Master in International Management (MIM) takes an additional one to two years, and increases career options and access to better paying management and administrative positions. As opportunities and salaries increase, the job market for International Business graduates has become more competitive. In the past, having an MBA was more than sufficient to secure a high-paying job but today, students may want to consider obtaining a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), equivalent to a PhD, and additional specialized business certifications. The DBA is also strongly encouraged for those who are interested in careers in research or academics.
There are many job options for students who wish to pursue degrees, particularly advanced degrees, in this field. You can work in an overseas corporate office, in which case it is important to consider how you feel about extensive travel abroad, often with long and/or odd hours. There are jobs available in the government sector in fields such as education, healthcare, and aerospace. Another option is consulting, usually in the short-term, within specific areas of business such as banking, law, technology, and international trade. Working as an international accountant, which often requires an MBA and specific accounting licensure qualifications, involves expertise in tax law and currency exchanges, along with an understanding of how to read and create financial statements, in the format required by other countries and their respective laws. An international economist studies the market, analyzes trends, and makes projections about countries that companies are doing business with overseas. International banking is another lucrative field with excellent job prospects, because of emerging international markets. Jobs are available within domestic banks that hold foreign accounts and in internationally owned institutions that do business in the United States.
Students majoring in International Business can expect to take classes in management, economics, business law, international finance, foreign languages, international marketing, and international operations. Becoming proficient in a second language, and possessing a high degree of knowledge about software programs and their constantly-evolving technologies, are considered crucially valuable skills in today’s market.
This major is best suited for students who are interested in business, traveling, and learning about other cultures and languages. It helps to be flexible, a strong communicator, and good with numbers. You should possess an excellent understanding of multicultural business etiquette and world affairs. There is a fast-growing demand for professionals in this field, and above-average job growth projected over the next decade, so majoring in International Business could be the first step towards having a successful and fulfilling career.
Career Paths for International Business Majors
• Business analyst
• Foreign affairs specialist
• International buyer
• Management specialist
• Bilingual educator
• Customs broker
• International trade specialist
• International marketing specialist
• International banker
• Cultural advisor
• Import compliance specialist
• International economist
• International accountant
• Corporate trainer
• Global sourcing specialist
• International financial officer
• International consultant
• Foreign service officer
Financial Matters: Comparing Financial Aid Package
If you’ve applied for financial aid and filed all the paperwork by the appropriate deadline, an award letter outlining a college’s offer of financial assistance should arrive close on the heels of your notification of acceptance. Here’s a guide to understanding what that package really means.
The bottom line in comparing financial aid packages is the final cost of your education to you and your family. Since the total cost of education varies for each college, you’ll need to compare your packages in terms of several factors. First, compare the ratio of grants (gift money) to loans for each school. Packages with larger grants than loans are obviously more desirable. Next, consider how much you and your family are expected to contribute and compare this amount to your total grant award. Are you and your family comfortable with this Expected Family Contribution? Will you be able to provide the expected amount?
Now, compare loan types offered and their terms. The most desirable loans are federal direct student loans with low, deferred interest; these loans do not have to be repaid until after you have completed your education. Private, unsubsidized family or student loans generally require that repayment begins within sixty days of receipt of funds. Even when offered loans as part of your financial aid package, you are free to decline them.
Most financial aid packages also include work-study. Keep in mind that you are also free to decline this type of aid; although there may be significant benefits to work-study employment, some students prefer to find their own jobs on or near campus, outside of the work-study program.
Call the college’s financial aid office to learn how outside scholarships may affect your financial aid package.While some colleges allow students to use these in place of loans, other colleges subtract this amount from any grant aid that you’ve been awarded. Ask, too, if you are likely to be awarded a similar package in succeeding years, assuming family finances remain at the same level. Some parts of your package may not be renewable, and this could affect your cost of attendance in subsequent years.
The final decision about college choice is a family decision, made by weighing numerous factors to determine the best choice for all of you. With skyrocketing college costs, finances may rightly count heavily in your final college selection.
Navigating the Waitlist
Colleges continue to increase the use of waitlists in order to manage their enrollment. Formerly, the wait list served as a safety net for colleges, assuring them of extra candidates if the number of students who accepted their offer of admission fell below their expectations. Now, however, colleges appear to be using the wait list as a way of increasing their yields and thus their rankings.
It has become pretty typical for a selective college that accepts 2,000 applicants in hopes of enrolling 500 students to offer another 2,000 well-qualified students places on the wait list. Of these, a quarter are likely to accept a spot. What should you do now if you are one of the hopeful applicants who has been wait-listed at your dream school?
First, you need to understand that this is not a denial of admission; instead, the college is letting you know that they consider you a good candidate and would like to accept you if room allows. Since students on the wait list are generally not ranked, you need to get the attention of admissions in order to be admitted. How do you do that?
First, respond quickly affirming your continued interest in the college and your desire to remain on the wait list. Follow up with a call or letter to the admissions officer who was your primary reader. This is generally the individual who has been assigned to your school or region. Check the website or call admissions if you are not sure who this is. Your contact with the regional representative should reaffirm your interest in attending and restate the qualities that you bring to campus. If this is your top choice for college, let the rep know.
Next, update your file with any additional awards, honors, new grades or experiences. A visit to campus can help too. Be sure to make an appointment to speak with your admissions rep during that visit.
If you will not need much (or ideally any) financial aid to attend that college, let the college know in writing that your family is able to handle your college expenses.
Be prepared to make a quick decision on attending if you get a phone call offering you a place in the class. Generally, colleges will expect a verbal yes within 24-48 hours after offering you a place. Only then will the offer become official. If you do choose to attend Wait List U, you’ll need to withdraw your previous enrollment at your second choice college. Be aware that you will probably forfeit any deposits you’ve paid to that institution.
.Prepared especially for our clients and their families. The information included in this newsletter is general and does not constitute educational, financial, accounting, legal, or other professional advice. Although it is intended to be accurate, neither the publisher nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage due to reliance on the material contained herein. Copyright © 20223 by The College Advisor, Inc. All rights reserved.