We’ve all been college shopping and spent time listening to countless college tour guides tell us about how dynamic each college is and how each one of our students fits into their student body. Looking for the right college to academically grown, make memories, and meet new friends is difficult and can throw up many red flags for the student and the parent. Here are five red flags to look out for when visiting your next college campus.
They Are Sports Oriented
We all want what is best for our children and we want then to succeed at college, but that doesn’t mean that we want them to learn about football. A college who prides themselves alone on championship trophies, explanations of how loud it gets inside the stadium, and takes you to a 20 minute tour of the “Football Hall of Fame” doesn’t win over most parents/students. It was an easy “thanks but no thanks” for our family. We want to see the academic side of the college. Not everyone is a football player.
Ask About Dining Options
Your child is heading off to college and they will need to eat, the problem is each campus has a variety of plans. There is the all access, first year option, fraternity/sorority only, platinum, gold, silver, and then dining dollars. How are you to get a hold of the right plan to fit the needs of your child? Your guide then tells you, “You will most likely get a call from your student asking for more money to be placed on their ID card. It just happens.” What? It sounds ridiculous but the best way to get answers for dining is to talk directly to a student if you can. Ask them about their experience.
A ton of colleges try to woo you with their video presentations at the beginning of the tour. They show you all the glitz and glamour of the college, the fun, the football games, the smiling faces. Very few faculty/student interactions and student study groups. It’s all about grabbing the students hook, line, and sinker. We found a handful of colleges that showed the faculty/student interactions and explained class size; student ratios were better suited for our sons needs and made his top priorities when he applied to college this past fall.
Housing Tour Not Included
Some campus tours we went on, and there were plenty, offered no housing tour at all. They only took us to the area where dorms were or pointed us in the general direction. If you are planning on a campus tour, make sure that you request a housing specific tour. This is where your child will live for the next year or so. It will make a difference in their lives and your sanity.
Guides Evade Questions
You have tons of questions and your campus tour guide should be able to answer them or be able to find the answer for you. We asked a guide at one school for an answer and they never got back to us. Leaving a prospective student/parent (funding source) without answers is critical to a college, especially when they are out-of-state prospects. Guides don’t know everything but they are representatives of the college and if they don’t care enough to find answers for you it left us wondering how the college might care for our son. It was food for thought.