College Visit 101: Navigating the Road to Admissions
Hello and welcome back to the Send Your Kids to College blog. As a reminder before we get started, there is still time to apply for the 2022 Young Achievers Scholarship for students in Erie, Niagara, and Genesee County! This is the last in our 3 part series “College Visit 101”. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our previous articles on campus and faculty. For our final entry, we will be talking about what is perhaps the most deciding factor when it comes to choosing a college: Admissions.
There are many moving parts when it comes to a school’s admissions process. You need to keep track of their GPA requirements, average standardized test scores, portfolio requirements, etc. Then there is the question of how to afford it all. By taking the time to plan ahead and seek out information during your campus visit, you may be able to reduce the amount you owe by the end of your college career. Here are just a few things to keep in mind during your visit.
The Admissions Office is a Resource
If it’s popular to think professors are scary, then one can only imagine the terror of the admissions or financial aid office. That’s just it though, that terror is quite imaginary. The people who work in these offices are there to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision when choosing to attend their school. Because of that, they are usually some of the most friendly and understanding people you’ll talk to during your campus visit.
If you’ve gone through the process of scheduling a tour, chances are that a person in the admissions office is already working to put together informational material for you. That is if they haven’t reached out already. If the school you are attending is on the larger end of things, there is a however that you may need to be proactive in scheduling to meet with someone. Just like with faculty, the sooner you realize that these people exist to help you, the more you’ll be able to get out of your visit.
If you are visiting a college where these offices are separated, then it is important that you schedule time to meet with both. Tedious as it may be to sit through these meetings, this information may end up saving you thousands of dollars over the next four years. Counselors are paid to speak with you; you pay to attend their school.
Important Questions to Bring up During a Meeting
What is the cost of attendance? Including tuition, housing, meal plans, fees, and books.
What percentage of the incoming freshmen receive student aid and what is the average amount? Is that amount negotiable?
Are there work-study programs available? If not, how easy is it to find a job on campus?
What is their refund policy if you have to suddenly drop out or cancel some courses?
What payment plans exist when it comes to the Estimated Family Contribution.
What financial aid forms are required?
Does your ability to pay the full cost of attendance affect the college’s admissions decisions?
Take your time and carefully consider everything
As frightening as it may be, when it comes to college you need to be able to pause and think about the future. Ultimately, that is what attending college at all is meant to prepare you for. So when it comes to making a decision, you don’t want to make a choice that is ultimately going to leave you worse off. While it may be tempting to rush towards your dream school with no questions asked, you need to seriously consider your ability to meet their admission requirements. Not only being able to keep up your grades or sporting performance, but the simple ability to afford it all without placing yourself under a mountain of debt.
Contrary to what people may think, admissions and financial counselors are not there to blindly convince you to enroll in their program. All too often they are the ones who have to rip the band-aid off and let people know that the school's requirements are likely more than they can currently handle. In that case, they will work with you to find some kind of work around. Otherwise they can be the ones who seal the deal by making you realize that this school would be a perfect fit. Ultimately, visiting admissions faculty during your tour costs you nothing and will benefit you immensely.
Send Your Kids to College is a non-profit based in WNY that is dedicated to helping kids and families navigate the college planning process. If your or a loved one is currently considering enrolling to college now or in the future, then be sure to reach out to our certified college planning experts by giving us a call or filling our or contact form. Otherwise, be sure to “like” us on FaceBook and keep up with our blog to learn the latest news and info.