To help you organize the college touring and interviewing process, I designed this form that helps you to record critical information with a minimum of effort. A few notes next to each category is all you need. Print a copy of this document for every college you visit. During, or immediately after the visit, fill out the form. File the completed forms in a binder or folder with all the promotional material the college gives you. I promise, you will find your notes invaluable when you start making your final choices about which schools to apply to.
Touring colleges is a big, expensive, time consuming job, but an important and necessary one because choosing a college is a major life decision. After visiting more than a dozen college campuses with my husband and high school age son, we found it difficult to remember the specifics of each school. Honestly, no matter how special the school, after touring several, they became a blur. All three of us found ourselves asking one other, “Which school had the fourteen Fulbright Scholars last year?” or “Which school had the amazing internship program?”
I recommend that both parent/guardian and child fill out a copy after each school visit. Later you will be able to compare notes and observations. If you have the luxury of driving, I suggest parent/guardian and child each keep the forms attached to a clipboard with an attached pen in the car. Fill out these forms immediately after the visit--even in the parking lot--while it is fresh in your mind.
I’ve included an extra form (The Pre-Interview Notes) for the student to fill out just before the visit. The student should do a bit of research on the college and come up with an intelligent question about something special that college specifically offers. An example of such a question might be something like, “I read about your Special Travel Abroad Program that combines volunteer work experience with study. Can you tell me more about that program?” The informed student will come across as a much stronger interviewee simply by doing a little bit of pre-interview homework.
I wish we’d had this package when we were touring colleges. I actually wrote this for a friend who is taking her son through the process. My hope is that that this package will help your family make the challenging college process a little easier.
Best of luck with your college search!
Carol Bowen from Art Lesson Launchpad