College Visits and the Decision Making Process of Teens

College Visit – College Smidget!

Torgersen Hall, Virginia Tech

Torgersen Hall, Virginia Tech

You may be shocked to learn that for some students visiting a lot of colleges is not a top priority during the college selection process.

In fact, going on a traditional campus tour and sitting in an hour-long information session is just not that important–at least, that’s what three University Honor Students at Virginia Tech conveyed to me at recent dinner event.

There I was, sitting with a small group of really bright, ambitious, college students excited to learn about what led them to choose to study at Virginia Tech. Their stories were all different and each one surprised me:

Student #1 attended the graduation ceremony for one of his friends and decided Tech was where he wanted to go to school. Done deal. He applied, was offered admission and he accepted. No reason to come back until freshman orientation.

Student #2 came to visit a friend already enrolled at the university. They two of them spent the weekend hiking in the gorgeous New River Valley, known for its natural beauty. He never set foot on campus but left Blacksburg knowing this was where he wanted to enroll.

Student #3 applied to Tech at 10 PM, just 2 hours before the midnight application deadline, was later accepted, and came up for Hokie Focus in April (to his credit, thinking that perhaps he should at least see campus before accepting the offer of admission). However, it was not the beautiful campus that inspired him to accept the offer right then and there, it was meeting the head of the University Honors program. The student left a deposit and accepted the offer of admission before leaving campus.

So, what does all this mean?  

That what “everyone” tells you to do–begin college visits in your junior year…visit before you apply…that the visit is the  most important part of college selection process–is wrong? No, of course not.  It simply means that each student has to find his or her fit his or her way. Each of these three students enjoyed a visit experience that gave them comfort and insight about the future they considered.

Alternatives are nice. From attending an event, such as graduation, to visiting the region as a tourist, to participating in a program on campus, there are many ways to discover which school is the right one.  What’s right for you?

Virginia Tech will offer an expanded information and campus tour schedule to accommodate the increase in campus visitors during the peak visit periods when high school students are typically on spring break, March 31 – April 13, 2012. Registration is required.

Hokie Focus, an admitted student program will be held April 14 & 15.

Students and families planning to visit campus can click here to search for a hotel near Virginia Tech. 

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