It's campus touring time, and Taking the Kids columnist and family-topic author Eileen Ogintz has some tips on The Huffington Post on how to make the most of a college-inspection trip with your son or daughter.
Here's a brief rundown:
Splurge on a nice hotel or a fancy dinner. Revel in the time together with your son or daughter.
Insist that your child take charge. That means the kids should decide where to visit, call and make the appointments and introduce themselves at the admissions office when they arrive.
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Take virtual tours before you set out to see campuses. That could narrow the field and save unnecessary trips.
Make appointments. College officials have schedules, too.
Plan for down time. You'll need it, whether it's relaxing in the hotel or taking a walk around town. You'll be suffering from a lot of information and sensory overload.
Consider B&Bs when visiting small college towns. You'll likely meet other college tourists with whom you can swap notes, and innkeepers can be a wealth of information.
Leave the siblings behind. They'll just be bored anyway.
Keep quiet and let your son or daughter ask the questions on the tour. Whatever you say will embarrass them anyway.
Pare down the itinerary. More than two schools a day and it all becomes a blur. More than three days and it's too much to digest in one stretch.
Remind them that they will find a school that's right for them. Sometimes they just need a little reassurance.
Remind yourself it'll soon be over. Then all you have to do is figure out how to pay for it.