I’ve written endlessly about the burden of college tuition for students. (Blog 6/16/15) I’ll say it once more. The cost of higher education is an outrage. We’re a nation blighting the future of our country by impoverishing our young. What I hadn’t considered until recently was that pre-enrollment costs aren’t insignificant either. Beside fees for the SAT’s and tutoring for those who want an edge, there is the epic road trip to visit college campuses, something that has almost become an obligation. According to Reyna Gobel writing in Money Magazine, “Three out of four schools say ‘demonstrated interest’” can affect an admission decision. (“Cut the Cost of College Tours, by Reyna Gobel, Money Magazine, June 2015, pg. 31.) In my day, an applicant filled out forms, wrote an essay and mailed a fat envelope to the Admissions Offices of the schools of their choice.
According to Gobel, the cost of these road trips, depending on distance and the number of schools to be visited, can cost “upwards of $3,5000” (Ibid pg. 31) Fortunately, she doesn’t leaves us without a remedy. There are ways to cut corners and below are a few her ideas for the next crop of college applicants.
Her first suggestion is to replace travel with online campus tours. To access these tours, go to visit.com/college. The tours are free but with a $30 headset, you can see the settings in 3D. To show an interest in a college without travel, talk to financial officers and admissions reps at collegeweeklive.com. The site “hosts events with more than 100 schools over the summer.” (Ibid pg. 21) It’s a good idea, she suggests, to write for editions of college newspapers and check the blogs of a few professors at schools of interest. An applicant can pick up information that may be useful in interviews or required essays.
Parents who haven’t the time to accompany their off-spring on the campus circuit can contact companies that specialize in providing supervised tours. According to Gobel, an 8 day excursion to 12 schools will cost about $2,000. For information go to College-visits.com.
If you’re the parent of a child who is in high demand, like a girl interested in tech or a minority student, it’s possible to get a school to pay the travel cost. For more about this ”fly-in” program check out Lynnette Kahlfar-Cox’s book, College Secrets for Teens.
I hope this information proves helpful to prospective students and their parents. I’m so glad I grew up in the dark ages when I didn’t need to know.