As we are all very familiar, during the spring we often see two different types of students wanting to visit campus:  admitted students making their college decisions and prospective juniors starting to think about college. This can be a confusing time for many, not knowing which visits are offered for whom, which would be the best fit, and, of course, the May 1 college decision deadline swiftly approaching.

Just within this past week, I’ve had three different conversations with parents and/or prospective students inquiring about which visit option to choose and feeling overwhelmed about which would be most beneficial for them. For example, a father of a high school senior was asking me about whether going to a scholarship banquet or attending an event for admitted seniors would be best for his daughter, because taking time off of work and school for both events was not feasible for their family. This left me wanting to know more about each specific event and how to best advise them. So, here are three questions to keep in mind when working with inquiring students and helping them navigate visit options to give them the best possible experience:

1)      What point is the student at in the college search and decision process?

Typically, in February, many questions arise around financial aid, whereas in April, the pressure is on to make the final college decision.

2)      What are their main considerations in choosing a college?

Is it the university itself, specific majors or departments, family connections, or other factors?

3)      How personalized are their needs?

Do they have specific questions about admission, financial fit, student life, etc.?

From a high school counselor perspective, being informed of various events that are offered, and the overall purpose of each specific event, is a key next step in being able to advise inquiring students or parents on what is the best fit, especially if they can only come to campus once. Having conversations with students and working to identify any gaps in their knowledge of your institution can help direct them towards the experience that would be most beneficial for them.

From an admissions perspective, it is important to think about offering enough variety of yield event programs – academically-focused, scholarship-focused, student life-focused, or a combination of all three. Having a wide array of options to meet the needs of your prospective and admitted students can help create a more driven and personalized visit experience for whomever you are working with.

Food for thought as we dive into a busy spring!