By Bernadette Cooper
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Greetings prospective Baylor parents! I joyfully write this blog to assist you and your child in navigating college visits and campus tours. Below are some pieces of advice/insights/encouragement that I can recall from the 50+ campus visits that I’ve done with my daughter — the last being our trip to Baylor Nation in April 2016.
- Seems quite obvious but a campus visit is a mandatory first step. It will be confirmed if this is the future home of your daughter/son. Believe that.
- Plan ahead! We scheduled visits while my high schooler was on spring break and summer vacation (make sure the campus will be open and receiving visitors/conducting tours during this time). If time and money allow, visit a second time to discount any ‘honeymoon’ feelings during the first visit.
- Attend the tour and stick around for the financial aid presentation. Most schools offer a walking tour followed by a Q&A portion that provides information on what the school is seeking in a prospective student, how to apply and get accepted, and financial/scholarship aid information.
- Ask questions, lots of them, of everyone you meet. Many folks are willing to share their experiences. Ask the typical ones (# of tenured professors, class size, teacher/student ratio, campus safety) as well as the off-script ones (retention rate of the freshman class, diversity, graduates with employment offers). Chat with students, and not just those providing the tour. Politely ask the student sitting in the quad or in one of the buildings what his/her experience has been. More specifically, ask what brought them to that school in particular. And take notes — this will help down the road when all the schools begin to blend together. You’ll want to know what stood out about each one.
- Visit the department(s) of your child’s intended major(s) — Talk with everyone you can, from the department chair to professors to students. Collect and read ALL THE LITERATURE you can on the school, the area, etc.
- Attend a class as that will provide first-hand experience with regard to class size, curriculum and expectations.
- Connect with at least one person on the staff (i.e., admissions counselor) and get their business card — they will serve as your liaison for any additional questions you may have post-visit.
- Respect the dates!! This is not the time to procrastinate. There are tasks that must be completed by student and parents. Don’t delay when it comes to the deadlines.
- Enjoy the experience. Can you envision your child thriving in this community, calling this campus/community home for four years while earning a degree and living on purpose, both academically and socially?