Wednesday, August 14, 2013

College planning

Through tutoring, I've helped several students with college planning. As one of my most recent students began visiting colleges, I began to reflect on my own college visits years ago.  I wish I had taken the time to take notes about each visit.

Listening to my most recent student talk about his visits, I remembered how much information I was trying to keep straight when I was in his position.  As a result, I created a worksheet for students to use when they visit colleges.  I suggest you print the worksheet double sided so that you don't have to worry about the two pages of the document getting separated.

I also suggest that you get a binder and page protectors.  After every visit, fill out a worksheet and slip it into a page protector. In the same pocket, add any brochures, paperwork, or photos from the visit.  This way everything for each visit will be kept tidy and all in one place.

In the top box, the student should write their overall thoughts about the school, and then make a list of the pros and cons for the school.  In the next field, make a list of important faculty and staff met during the visit. Be sure to get contact information and send them thank you notes. At many schools, a thank you note will make an impression! It will show maturity and interest, and it is a step that many students won't take.

In the final field of the first page, make a list of any family or friends that attended the school.  The student should take some time to talk to these people about the school and the experiences that these people had there.  Send thank you notes to them too!  If they had great experiences, ask if they would be willing to write a letter or make a phone call to the school after the student applies - these are NOT letters of recommendation that many applications require!  These are on top of the required letters of recommendation. Some schools, especially private schools, love to have alumni recommend students.

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