Summer vacation is upon us. A parent recently shared with me: “Our high school has planned a college visit; our son will be going on that”. In retrospect, I think it was not so much of a “sharing” – but much more of a “deferring”. The responsibility for the college preparation process is being delegated or deferred to the high school.
In the past few years it has become much more common that high schools are organizing visits to colleges. In our experience, these college visits tend to be to local colleges. They are colleges that the high school has a “relationship” with. These visits provide exposure for students to see different campuses. The trip can be a team-building experience for the students among themselves as well; there is a “field trip” element baked right into it. This type of visit can become one of the points-of-reference to the ultimate college decision. When the high school organizes the visit, this takes the organizational headache away from the parents; it saves parents time and probably some money as well.
The criteria for taking time to visit a college has become very broad; rarely is this particular college considered one of the top ten best-fit colleges for your child. During the visit students are seldom group divided into major-specific sub-groups. On top of that, the programLearn how-to Prepare 4 College Correctly!is preset – one sees what the college wants to show – not necessarily
Certainly, a participating in a college visit organized by the high school is better than not going on a college visit at all. It does provide an opportunity to discuss the college visit when your student returns home. A well thought-through evaluation can make the trip much more beneficial. Given the limited time and resources of a parent, one should take advantage of the high school college visit when the college visit is connect to your overarching pre-college vision and purpose. One should also consider colleges that are not paid a visit to by the high school. We do, however, observe that this type of college visit can contribute to the “absent parent” phenomena when it comes to helping your own children prepare for college. It should never become a “deferral” or a “delegation” of your pre-college responsibility.
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