Many students and their parents save college tours until the student's junior or senior year right before or even during the college application season.
Not only is waiting until the last minute to schedule a tour stressful, it puts you way behind when it comes to admissions.
College admissions officers who review student applications know that the average student is applying to 8-10 colleges or even more! That means every senior they interact with on campus or whose application they review has only a 1 in 10 chance of actually accepting an offer of admission.
From the admissions officer's perspective, investing too much time in these students is pointless. They put together an intriguing campus tour with a bright and cheerful tour guide to do the best they can to lure in students, but they can't invest the time to interact with every student themselves.
But that doesn't mean admissions officers don't want to connect.
Like anyone else, admissions officers have to invest their time well. A senior who only has a 1 in 10 chance of attending is not a good use of their time. But a high school freshman who has already expressed interest in the school is much more worthy of their time.
This presents a huge opportunity for parents who understand the implications.
By beginning to visit colleges early, your student is going on record as having expressed serious interest in the school. Students who express serious interest are more likely to get accepted, and often receive better financial aid packages. Admissions officers are able to invest time in your student early and get a good feel for whether or not this student is a good fit.
Colleges want to hear from you.
The University of Arizona offers tours for students as young as Kindergarten!
Not only is touring a school at a young age of huge educational benefit to a child, it helps the school get to know the student early on. Both the student and the school get a head-start on determining if this is a good fit.
Put this information into action.
Summer can be an excellent time of year to begin this adventure with your child. Make it your goal to visit three colleges this summer with your young son or daughter.
You will be pleasantly surprised with how much attention you will receive and how quickly your questions can get answered.
Use College Factual Match to begin making a list of schools to explore and do some research ahead of time. Learn about graduation rates, sports teams, and admissions standards.
While you're on your tour, ask about job placements, student research opportunities, and accessibility to internships.