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Colleges Are Not Created Equal-Look for the Red Flags

Updated on September 3, 2014

Be as wise as an owl in your choice of colleges

Do not pick the first college to attend. Go on a tour of the college and ask questions. Visit the admissions office and be aware of any 'red flags'.
Do not pick the first college to attend. Go on a tour of the college and ask questions. Visit the admissions office and be aware of any 'red flags'.

A College Tour and Plenty of Questions Will Determine Your Child's Choice of Colleges

The expectations of entering college open a new and exciting chapter in a student's life. This new chapter in the student's life is an anxious time for parents and students. Most all students and parents want to tour colleges in order to make a good college choice. Students should never tour a college on their own as a new high school graduate.

Students have a big say in what college, they are most interested in and then it is generally up to the parents if this college will fit their student's needs. Some parents do not give their student any say in what college they enter.

My husband and I went on several college tours. We always left the type of college up to our three children, but we made sure we knew about the college through gathering all the information possible and scheduled a tour of the campus.

First Impressions by Parents and Students for a College Campus Is Critical

The first thing that I noticed was the appearance of the campus and the students' dress and behavior as we strolled across campus and through the halls. I noticed if the campus was well-manicured and trash-free. As many always hear, "First impressions are the most important." There is something to be said about first impressions.

Small Details of Colleges Can Be Most Important

I am able to tune into and focus on the smallest of details. Small details are sometimes extremely important and they generally pass over my husband's attention while he focuses on another detail.

Freshman and Junior Students Are Inexperienced to Tour Colleges without Parent (s)

Since my child is still learning and now entering a college atmosphere, they are starting at the bottom of the higher educational ladder. I found that two of my children were too timid to ask forward questions, demanding an excellent and to the point answer by college tour guides or other college leaders. My children set these people on a pedestal and each felt non-significant or little in stature.

I quickly tried to dispel this feeling of insignificance and reinforce the fact that my children were in essence a V.I.P. I told them, "If it were not for you, appling to this college these people working here would not have a job". Slowly the kids took on a different attitude of importance in their place as a new college student. Other parents relayed to me this same problem, so I did not feel like I was the only parent whose children felt this way.

Freshman and junior college students are too inexperienced to ask the right questions and know if the college they select is what will fit their educational needs. I did not want any college taking advantage of my child because this was their first year and they were inexperienced in the admissions process.

A College Tour Guide Can Make or Break a College

The campus had helpful information and this is extremely important to the parents, students and college. If the college does not have a quality college tour guide the college stands to lose the new student and money from this student. My questions directed to our tour guide may have seemed petty, but I felt my questions were important in order to help my child and us decide on the right college. Some of my questions for our tour guide were,

* How long had our guide attended this college and what was their educational focus
* What activities are they involved in on campus
* Did our tour guide have to work as much as they could to help support their education
* Is a college food good?
* Did our tour guide make a good first impression with their dress and behavior
* I took into consideration if our guide was prompt and friendly. It meant a lot to me to know that our tour guide took his or her time with each parent and student. They were flexible with our time and their time
* Did this college support the non-use of smoking, alcohol and drugs on or off campus

Appearance of College Admissions Office Tells a lot about the College's Infrastructure

As we entered the admissions office, I took note of the organizational aspects of those in the office and the college's infrastructure as evidenced by the above site.

* Were college employee desks clutter-free, did personnel appear organized in their work atmosphere
* Did the admission personnel dress professionally
* Did they act in a professional manner
* Did personnel in the admissions office know what they were talking about when answering my questions
* Were the college officials able to answer all of my questions without second thoughts

My child was going to be in frequent contact with those maintaining the admissions office, so I wanted to know how capable they were and how important new admissions were to them. First impressions of a cluttered admissions office can creep up the ranks to college leaders and officials. Disorganized college employees put the college's whole structure in question.

Lastly, I was concerned about the campus policy in regards to any 'hazing' of new students. I wanted all questions answered in regards to what I thought were unnecessary activities on campus or off campus. I was interested in where college students 'hang out' was off campus and I wanted to visit these locations.

If the tour guide did not take us to several dorm rooms, I asked to do this. This told me how responsible most of the students on campus took college life.


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