How to survive a campus tour with your child

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.