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College visits with your teen: all in a day's work for working moms

University of Wisconsin  - Whitewater Visitor Center
University of Wisconsin - Whitewater Visitor Center
Lori VanNatta

Working Mom recently wrote about helping your teen choose a college to attend. This story provides additional information about the process.

Once a list of colleges to visit has been created, the next step is to thoroughly check out the schools' websites for information on the admissions departments and campus visit information. It may be possible to tour more than one school in one day: the likelihood of that will depend upon location and size of the schools. For example, a thorough tour of University of Wisconsin – Madison could take the better part of the day. If you are planning to also check out Edgewood College, why not try coordinating the two? When Working Mom's daughter was looking at schools, a couple of different trips were arranged with two or three days to see some of the schools in the central to northern part of the state and then another day to see two of the schools in the southern part of the state.

Give some thought to what you want from your tour. If you do not see that covered on the website, call and ask about it. Chances are fairly good that with enough time, the admissions staff can get it arranged. Many tours include a walking tour of campus. (Hint: Be prepared to walk: this may mean your teen leaves her flip flops at home and mom, you may wish to ditch the four inch heels.) Other areas covered typically include a look at campus living with information on dorm rooms and meal plans, a walk through some of the campus fitness and recreational areas, and time to hear about individual educational programs.

From personal experience, Working Mom would strongly advise taking notes when there is a chance. Sit down with your teen as soon as possible after each tour and jot down what the two of you noticed and liked, as well as what seemed to disappoint or be less than ideal. When Elizabeth was touring campuses, the student at University of Wisconsin – Lacrosse specifically pointed out the campus' Blue Light Emergency Telephones. It surprised Working Mom that Elizabeth later commented that the system made her feel better about walking on campus at night. On a visit to another campus, Elizabeth commented on the lack of such a system and noted that given some remote walking areas there, she would be concerned about her safety.

Here are links to other popular college choices for additional information about visiting campus:

University of Wisconsin – Platteville

University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

Marquette University

Carroll University – Waukesha

Carthage College – Kenosha

Winona State – Winona, Minnesota

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