Campus visits matter a lot!
According to the prestigious non-profit, Complete College America, the second factor in students needing more than four years to complete their four-year undergraduate education is transferring from one college to another.
That is often precipitated by a change in major; which is the number one reason for prolonged, undergraduate education.
One extra year of college, in many instances, is the cost-equivalent of the first four years. You can look for the white paper, "The Four-Year Myth" (www.completecollege.org), and learn the details. I have also posted a 6 part series on the subject. You can check those out here - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6.
There are a few "must-do" activities every prospective college student must complete during their high school years (and before they start 12th grade).
I have those detailed in my book College is a Consumer Purchase, 2nd edition (now available for purchase on amazon). Among those are strategic, campus visits.
Remember, students live and work at the college of their choice, for weeks on end. If a student is not more than comfortable on that campus, it is nearly inevitable that he or she will leave hopefully to transfer rather than drop out.
"The" pandemic (you know of the one I mean) further complicated campus visits. My current students, rising seniors in high school, are scrambling to complete a strategy for campus visits; one that has proven powerfully effective for more than a decade. The reason for the scramble, of course, is that college campuses were closed to visitors for more than a year. A virtual tour is great. In fact, it is one of the responses to COVID-19 lockdowns that represents an advancement. I am a fan! However, the virtual must, eventually, be followed up with the in-person inspection.
My recommendation to you is actually an urgent appeal. Whatever plans you have to change in order to fit in at least six, meaningful campus visits before high school resumes (August?), do it. The consequences of slacking off may include:
- Great(er) anxiety a year from now (or whenever the student starts college),
- Increased likelihood of transferring colleges,
- Costs of a college education rising more than 50%, to as much as double.
Listen, you may be making a mental list of reasons why you can't align your summer to a heavy, campus visit schedule. Consider, as a counter-balance to excuses, that this is the most important decision for nearly every family. It is your student's first step along the adult path of life. My prayer is, that step will be made confidently, on the best path among the many choices facing you.