What parents expect from their college visit and the outcomes they are left with, do not always go hand-in-hand.
So, how exactly how exactly do you help your child get accepted into a good college? What’s the formula?
Allow me to explain. I’ve worked with over thousands of teenagers in this process, and through each experience, I’ve learned something new about college admissions. So, I wanted to give you an easy strategy that you can start applying today with analyzing which school is the right fit.
Let me introduce you to “The Insider Way Of Knowing If Your Kid Fits In On Campus Technique”
This strategy is more like making the ultimate power move in a chess game. You may never have noticed it, but at every meeting, there is usually someone trying to be the power player. When you walk into your college visit for the first time, they likely already have a pitch ready to go. Usually, the college will be the power player in this regard, explaining that every student is super happy and lucky to be there – trying to dictate the next most critical move in your child’s life – their college career.
During this visit, it is absolutely normal (and expected) for you to feel like you are being sold by a used car salesman. You may even glaze over and notice that every tour is exactly the same across college campus to college campus. Remember, it is impossible for you to know the insider information of what happens at each school, simply because it has changed completely from the days when you yourself applied to colleges.
Surprisingly, after speaking with hundreds of colleges, the truth is this: while they’re assuming most of the responsibility up front with a cookie-cutter strategy, they do wish that you took ownership of this process with a bit more knowledge and care.
Believe it or not, colleges would rather have a conversation with a parent who has already done their due-diligence by researching schools online ahead of time and who come prepared with questions. They want a parent who understands the process, so that it is a two-way conversation, instead of a one-sided transference of power.
Bottom line? You are going to need to take ownership of this process, fast. Once you learn this crucial technique, you’ll know how to ask the right questions and create space for real conversations with the college.
Here’s a real example from a mom I worked with named Jennifer. See if you can spot the clues:
At the college visit on a college tour, Jennifer and her husband were sitting with their daughter. They knew her daughter was excited about this college because it was a name-brand school. Jennifer was so focused on trying to help her child smoothly through the semester, that she put the college tour and visit on the backburner. She waited until showing up at the door of the college before even fully researching the college in depth.
The college tour started, and almost as if on a loop, “So, X college is one of the best in the country. Our mission is X, X, and X. Please take a look at our wonderful dorms and state-of-the-art facilities….”
Jennifer and her husband followed in a zombie like fashion as they had been going from city to city to visit colleges. At the end of the tour, not many questions were really asked. And, if they were asked, they were generic questions – not ones that actually mattered to the happiness of their child. Did you notice how “uninvolved” Jennifer and her husband were in the tour or visit process? Did you notice how the college tour guide/college kid was in full control of this process?
Jennifer and her husband considered this the normal practice, because, this is, unfortunately, how this process is handled for most people. Book tours, show up, and get a gut reaction about the school… and expect that the tour will give you all the info you need.
And what do the colleges feel?
“If parents made more of an effort in knowing our specific university and seeing how their child would thrive in our culture, I think we could actually have more headway in these visits,” a counselor recently told me.
If Jennifer had talked with her daughter about colleges and truly got a sense of each college prior to spending thousands of dollars visiting, this would have been a two-way conversation. See, “The Insider Way Of Knowing If Your Kid Fits In On Campus Technique” would mean that parents are not relying on the school to give their typical sales/marketing pitch as their end all be all.
Let me ask you a question. When you go to a car dealership, do you research the car prior to visiting? Do you look at the ratings, see the different models, possibly build a car online prior to walking in?
You get excited. You are ready to work with the sales person to get the right fit for you based on your desired driving experience.
You have to work as a team to make this decision.
You have to be ahead of the game.
You must open up the conversation with a knowledge-base of your child’s educational needs and wants, before leaving that decision up to a college kid…ahem, tour guide.
Here is my step-by-step guide to “The Insider Way Of Knowing If Your Kid Fits In On Campus Technique”:
Have conversations with your child. Find out what they are passionate about, what matters most to them about the school they choose, and where they envision their future going. Pay attention as meeting your child’s needs will speak volumes to their success.
From those conversations, go online and research colleges that make the most sense for your child and develop a short list. Take a look at their mission, recent events, faculty to student ratio, involvement of sports/fraternities/sororities and the overall fit of the school.
When visiting the school, come armed with questions and your list of questions. You are the one SHOPPING. Make sure to talk with a few students on campus, visit a class, get interviewed, talk with a professor, and more.
Listen to the tour and make sure that you voice your questions, go over your list in enough detail to ease your concerns, and don’t forget to share your perspective. Remember, it is a two-way street, and no one knows your child better than you.
If you’re sad you haven’t yet applied The Insider Way Of Knowing If Your Kid Fits In On Campus Technique before, don’t beat yourself up over it! Look, it is not your fault. I have seen this time and time again. I have talked with parents who have said,
“Neha, I have visited schools and felt like they all said the same thing. I had no idea that I had to be more involved in this process, I expected the college to sell us on why we should apply there.”
Let me tell you something. When you visit a high-end car dealership, they are not there to sell you. They already know you are a knowledgeable consumer ready to purchase, but there to feel it as an experience.
Learning to step into this process is a skill that will change your child’s life and impact the outcome of their future. Read that last sentence again for more clarity.
It’ll help your child’s chances of getting into a top university. It’ll help to ensure your child’s happiness in feeling that they can succeed and go to the college of their dreams. It’ll make sure they are picking the RIGHT school for THEM.
So, now that you know about “The Insider Way Of Knowing If Your Kid Fits In On Campus Technique”, you should start using it today.
E-mail me and let me know: Have you been able to connect with your teen about their future goals? Will this technique help you in your visits? I’d love to hear about your child’s process!
Yours in Success,
Founder, College Shortcuts
PS – Don’t forget to email me and let me know how this technique could change your child’s trajectory on college visits. I read every single one.
PPS – Tomorrow I will share some more stories from parents just like you. Let’s connect.