Friday, February 26, 2016

College Visits Help Narrow Your Focus

Finding the right college is a daunting task that is complicated by the reality that teens and parents have two different goals in mind when trying to decide what college is right -- the first issue is right for who: the family or the student?

Parents and students should make a pact. Set up a folder for each college and the research that your son or daughter does goes in the folder --- but so does your research.

This will prove valuable later on in the winter/spring of their senior year when decisions about which college is still on the table have to be made.

Visiting colleges is an important part of the selection process. Plan to visit a region and plan to visit more than one college in that region, even if the other college is not on your list. Visiting two different places can help you decide which format is right for your student -- large versus small, urban versus suburban.

Students often make assumptions about what they want based on the media. They see a movie about college and decide that is what the college will be like that they have researched. Colleges are at fault too for using so many different media to portray an image about their institution that is very hard to live up to once you arrive on campus -- try to close the gap between perception and reality by visiting campuses.

Most of all, enjoy the process. If a college doesn't turn out to be what you or your child expected once you visit consider it a good visit and learn from it. For every college you visit your selection skills will be honed and you will be ready when the right one comes along.

Open Houses
Plan on visiting during Open Houses but also plan a follow up visit if you like what you see at Open House. At St. Thomas Aquinas College we plan several events to help students hone in on the reality of what we offer -- big opportunities on a suburban campus just 20 minutes from the heart of New York City. We offer 35 different majors in three different Schools -- Education, Business, and Arts & Sciences. We encourage students to also choose a minor and the various combinations available bring your choices to about 100 -- majors, minors, specializations and dual degree programs.

Once students apply to colleges and get acceptances you should start to narrow your choices and looking in that folder for your research will be an important part of the process. Financial aid awards will play into the process as well. Your research becomes the basis for your decisions -- and the impact that those visits made will be a big part of the decision as well.

Start the summer before junior year for visiting and keep going into senior year -- but it is never too late to start. Deciding which major appliance or vehicle to purchase is a big decision and one we don't make lightly -- come to campus and kick our tires too!

Looking forward to seeing you on campus….

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