It’s that time you thought would never come. Your baby is rapidly moving through high school, and now it’s time for them to decide where they want to spend the next years of their life. Sounds pretty scary, huh? Check out these tips to help you get the most out of your visits.

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  1. Ask about program requirements: This can help your child decide if the programs they are looking at are for them or not. Some colleges require you to take lots of credit hours in all sorts of different classes. Others will have you jump right into your major. Many schools have track requirements online as well, so print out a copy and have your kid look at it.

  2. Check out housing and dining in MULTIPLE locations: What are the dorms like? What type of meal plan does the university offer? These questions can help you not only budget, but also decipher whether you like the housing offered. Kids spend a lot of time hanging in their dorm rooms during the week, so make sure your child can picture themselves hanging there. Be real with them too. Prepare them for a real dorm size, not like the ones in the movies. Ask to see SEVERAL dorm options as some will have “dormer” ceilings, a.k.a slanted ceilings that drastically reduce room space.

  3. Take a walking tour of campus: Okay just a warning, your kid is probably thinking: Nothing screams “high school prospect” more than a walking tour of campus. But this can really help. Ask them what kind of size college they initially wanted and how they are feeling as you walk through it. Much like a wedding dress, they should have “that feeling” when they are walking through campus – almost an odd feeling of home.

  4. Encourage your kid to sit in on a class: Email the admissions office ahead of time, and they will try to connect you with a professor in whatever department you’re interested. Most will be more than happy to let your child sit in.  This can give your kid a good idea of not only the teaching styles there, but also the subject in general (if your child is on the fence about majors, this can help with the decision process.

  5. Be involved, but not pushy: Remember, this is about your child and where they want to go. It’s important to be involved in the decision, but to ultimately let them take charge. Encourage them to ask questions and ask them what they really want to see. Don’t go printing out everything or finding colleges for your soon-to-be student to look at.

  6. HAVE FUN: This is a great bonding experience for parents and children, especially at such an important moment in both of your lives.

Image Credit: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/slideshows/10-tips-for-an-effective-college-visit

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