Nothing is more exciting for high schoolers than getting a taste of college life. Campus tours provide just that — a chance for soon-to-be college students to experience the opportunities that await in higher education. Visiting college campuses is also a vital part of the application process and helps students determine whether or not a school would be their best fit.
Whether you’re looking at local colleges or planning an epic road trip to visit universities across the country, consider these tips for making the most of your time on campus.
Schedule Wisely The best time to visit colleges is throughout junior year. Visits to schools prior to junior year are acceptable, but students mature quickly as they progress towards senior year and preferences can change over time.
Also, consider the season when planning your tours. It may be convenient for families to travel during the summer months, but there is much to be gained from visiting when school is in session. From talking to current students to getting a feel for the energy on campus, visiting during the fall or spring semester is a wise choice.
Come With Questions & Take Notes Prepare questions prior to arriving on campus. College visits can be eventful and it is always difficult for families to remember all the details.
Jot down a list of your questions ahead of time and bring along a notebook or an iPad to take notes while you’re visiting. From programs of interest to activities on campus, there will be no shortage of information to collect.
Stick Around Don’t rush off after your tour concludes. Do some exploring of your own. Sit down for a meal in the dining hall. Visit campus hangout areas to get a feel for the community. Strike up a conversation with students or professors. If there’s a program you’re particularly interested in, explore those facilities or schedule a meeting with the head of the department.
Don’t feel limited to only seeing what the tour covers; spend some time sightseeing and forming your own opinions. Take note of any profound or interesting conversations with faculty or students which could be referenced later when writing application essays for that particular college.
Sit in on a Class Ask in advance if it’s possible to sit in on an actual class or two during your visit. Most college classes are relatively short and the time investment can be immensely helpful as you form your list of pros and cons.
Take note of the class size – is it a large lecture or a small group? What is the professor like? Do students seem engaged or are they dozing off? You know how you learn best, so ask yourself whether you feel motivated by the learning environment.
Get Off Campus This may seem counterproductive at first, but checking out the school’s surrounding area is a smart move. Does the community feel safe? Could you envision yourself living off campus after a year or two of dorm life? What amenities or convenience shops are nearby? If you plan on traveling home for breaks, what is your proximity to the nearest airport?
All of these questions will help you decide if the area is a practical and desirable place to call home for the next four years.
Learn More Interested in learning more about the college preparatory program at GRACE Christian School? Contact us today.
GRACE high school students are encouraged to mark the following dates:
Saturday, March 17th from 9:00am-12:00pm:Raleigh Mini-Camp College Program for 11th grade students and parents at William Peace University. Local high school college counselors and college admission officers are here to help you with the college application process. Join them for the Raleigh Mini-Camp College Program, sponsored by the Southern Association of College Admission Counseling. Registration is required.
Tuesday, March 20th from 4:30pm-7:30pm: The 2018 Greater Raleigh NACAC College Fair at the Raleigh Convention Center is the largest college fair in this part of North Carolina.Students and families will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from nearly 200 colleges in North Carolina and across the country. There will also be workshops available on the SAT suite of assessments, application tips, essay writing and how to finance a college education. Students are strongly encouraged to register online and print their registration barcodes prior to coming to the fair. This enables families to spend more time connecting with representatives and less time waiting to register on site. All students must have a barcode to enter the fair. Additional information about registration can be found here.
It has been a very busy fall for the GRACE College Counseling department.Thirteen college representatives have already visited the GRACE campus to recruit our student with 22 more colleges scheduled to visit between now and mid-November. Search for “College Rep Visit” on the GRACE Website to see which colleges are recruiting on campus.
In addition to the on-site visits, students and parents are invited to visit the College Visitation Dates page to see what colleges are holding regional information sessions in our area and when local college fairs are being held. Most information sessions require advanced registration – links to the registration pages are included on the College Visitation Dates page.
Last Monday, an admissions representative from Campbell University met with members of the class of 2018 and extended 16 offers of admission along with over $1 million in scholarship offers to our students.
Contact Lynne Hawkes at LHawkes@GRACEChristian.net in the College Counseling Office if you have questions about the college search process.
Start your college search for free at the Raleigh NACAC National College Fair on March 14th from 4:30-7:30pm. National College Fairs is a program of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). Admission representatives from 150 schools across the country will be available so high school students can learn more about their institutions and help you sort through the qualities they’re looking for in a college. Register now for the Raleigh National College Fair located in Exhibit Hall C at the Convention Center, 500 S Salisbury St. in downtown Raleigh.
All juniors and seniors should bookmark the College Visitation page on the GRACE website to see a list of the colleges and universities that will be visiting the GRACE campus during September and October. New visits are being added weekly. Visits will also be listed on the GRACE Calendar; search for “college visit” to get a complete list.
College counselor, Lynne Hawkes, is a wonderful addition to our staff and is instrumental in setting our students up for success as they prepare for, communicate with, and eventually attend college. Mrs. Hawkes oversees the college preparatory process at GRACE which includes facilitating the Naviance Family Connection program and working with Junior Seminar and College Writing classes. Mrs. Hawkes conducts information meetings for students and parents of each grade in the high school, hosts a monthly College Connections Coffee and is available to meet with students and parents by appointment.
“I am honored and grateful to have joined the GRACE community as the Director of College Counseling. I plan to come alongside students and their families throughout the college admission process, providing them with tools, resources, and support to discover the colleges and universities that best fit their passions, skills and aspirations. I desire to instill peace in what can be a stressful time by focusing on the truth that the Lord is faithful and true, and He has uniquely gifted each student to participate in His good and sovereign plan.”
Naviance Family Connection
The Counseling department is introducing Family Connection, a comprehensive college and career readiness software application that GRACE has purchased for our students and parents to use in the college and career search process. Prior to spring break, each high school student and parent will receive information to access Family Connection. Additionally, Family Connection is linked with Naviance, a service that tracks and analyzes data about our students’ college and career plans, providing up-to-date information specific to our school. Naviance Family Connection allows students to:
Organize the planning and advising process with online surveys, a resume building tool, and the ability to manage timelines and deadlines for college and career decisions
Complete plans for high school graduation and/or college entrance requirements.
Research colleges by comparing GPA, standardized test scores, and other statistics
Research hundreds of careers and career clusters
Participate in career assessments to find out the college major that is aligned with their career choices.
Evaluate colleges by comparing majors, student activities, and athletics offered at each college selected
Create goals and to-do lists and complete tasks assigned to the students by the school to better prepare themselves for future college and career goals.
Junior Seminar, a required class* for all 11th grade students, provides valuable infrastructure to the college planning process. Mrs. Hawkes coordinates this class with GRACE faculty members and facilitates the diverse elements that give our students the opportunity to think critically about the next step in their education. Students enrolled in Junior Seminar:
Meet college admissions representatives and learn about different colleges
Listen to adults share about their diverse career choices and life stories
Prepare for standardized testing
Develop interview skills for college admissions, jobs, and scholarships
Acquire recommendation letters
* students with differentiated schedules are not guaranteed placement in Junior Seminar
College Writing, a required class* for all 12th grade students, allows students to spend the first quarter of their senior year moving the college application process forward. During this class, students have access to a GRACE English teacher who helps with ideas and editing for college application and scholarship essays. After the first quarter, students are introduced to college-level writing projects and a variety of research-based writing required in college. On-going research is used to keep the course’s focus relevant and prepare all students appropriately for future educational experiences. For their last quarter, the seniors focus on skills required for the adult life including finance, business communication, thank you notes, and graduation protocol.
* students with differentiated schedules are not guaranteed placement in College Writing
The 2016-2017 GRACE School Profile is a document that is sent to colleges and universities with a student’s transcript to introduce the admissions department to our school. It is updated each year.
GRACE high school parents are invited to drop by as they are able to the Crossroads Campus the first Wednesday of each month (first meeting is December 2nd in the Library) from 8:00-9:15am to discuss topics related to preparing for and applying to college: standardized testing (PSAT, SAT ACT), extracurricular preparation, course rigor, athletic recruitment, financial aid/scholarship, “healthy letting go” and more… Bring your questions and prepare for some lively discussion and support!