College touring can get pretty tedious and tiring after awhile.
Parents go to great lengths to make sure their children are checking out colleges and uncovering the strengths and drawbacks for each one.
Sometimes however, no matter how much you have planned, the trip with your teenager may turn out to be a disaster.
Here are 5 mistakes people make when going on college tours:
1. Letting your teenager take care of the driving directions – even though they may have their driver’s license or permit, they may not have learned how to navigate. Make sure they google the directions to the college or university not to the city itself. Have them sit next to you in the passenger seat to get them acquainted route numbers, major highways and geographic locations as prep for making the right college a decision.
2. Letting your teenager take care of making the appointment with the college – the worst part of driving all the way to a college or university is getting there, going on a tour only to find out that you missed the personal tour for your major or you were there on the wrong day for the facilities tour. Call ahead to find out when the personal tour for your major will be on the day you arrive or find out immediately when you get to the campus. Excuse yourself from the tour of the grounds to go to the department of your interest.
3. Not leaving enough time for driving, parking, and finding the right building – if you already know how to get to the college there is only the matter of finding the right parking lot and building when you arrive. Most campuses are very large and the tiny maps are hard to read. Allow a half hour extra for unexpected detours, parking lots that are full, traffic, etc. Make sure you have a parking pass for your windshield if needed. Some universities have shuttle buses to get to different parts of the campus, which will take extra time as well.
4. Not speaking with the athletic coach prior to making appointments with the college – if you are an athlete, you will need to speak with the coach, see the athletic facilities and want to talk with the team members. If you arrive on campus without making these arrangements, you will have to go back another day. Make sure you are eligible to make the team or at least find out what you need to do to be considered for the team.
5. Not thoroughly investigating the college while you are there - Not talking with students on campus or not speaking with anyone from your prospective department will not give you all the information you will need to find out if that college is what you are looking for. Seeing a picture or website only or students talking with their own classmates will not give you a good snapshot of reality. While you are there find out what campus life there is really like and talk with as many people as possible. Find out things like the infirmary hours and what unexpected costs there may be after your child matriculates.
Letting your teenager be active in the college process is giving them a chance to be more independent and letting them feel like you are not controlling them. Try to be overlooking what they are doing to make sure your time is being used efficiently. Enjoy the ride to the campus and the tours. Good planning can make all the difference.
Donna Marie Laino is a nurse, humorist, motivational speaker and success coach. She also uses humor as a holistic practitioner and Certified Laughter Leader to deal with life stress and health. You are invited to visit her humor blog at: http://www.healingwithhumor.blogspot.com