For parents of high school sophomores and juniors, April break is usually an excellent time to start touring the schools on your child’s list. However, closed campuses and social distancing have made the tour process all that much more difficult. Many schools offer virtual tours, but can you summarize all that a school has to offer by the click of a mouse? Probably not, so if you can’t step foot on campus, what can you and your child do to prepare for the college process?
The most valuable conversation that you and your child can have during this time of isolation is the “college money talk” before you are allowed back on campuses when college tours resume. It is important to have a conversation with your child in regards to the finances associated with each school on their list before the visit. This way, they can put the cost of each school in perspective when weighing the other aspects of the campus. For more info on how to have this financial discussion with your child, read my blog post from last fall on this topic here.
Having this talk first can help to avoid your child falling in love with a school that may be out of their price range, only for them to later regret their decision when faced with large amounts of debt after graduation.
Let’s fast forward to when you and your child can start visiting schools when colleges re-open. My recommendation if possible is to visit a campus once over the summer, and then to do another visit in the fall while school is in session. Why? The ability to ask some of your questions about the school to current students on campus can be invaluable. While a tour guide is a great resource, they likely will only have good things to say about the school, whereas current students will likely be a less biased source of information.
One of the leading factors for me in enjoying my time at Bentley University was the social aspect that was evident all across campus. For high school students touring colleges, taking a closer look at how students interact on campus quads, student centers or even in the cafeteria can be a great indicator of a typical day in the life of a student. After all, the majority of a student’s time on campus is spent outside the classroom. So if possible, take a tour while classes are in session to take full advantage of the social setting while on campus for the tour!
Do you have any questions during this difficult time about how to handle the college process with your child? Give us a call, we’re here to help!
All the best,
Financial Planning Solutions, LLC (FPS) is a Registered Investment Advisor. Financial Planning Solutions, LLC (FPS) provides this blog for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this blog should be considered investment, tax, or legal advice. FPS only renders personalized advice to each client. Information herein includes opinions and source information that is believed to be reliable. However, such information may not be independently verified by FPS. Please see important disclosures link at the bottom of this page.