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College tour fail: Why can’t admissions offices tell it like it is?

September 19th, 2016

The article we’ve posted today is written by a student (editor’s clarification:  not a Shrop Ed advisee), Simon Kuh, who’s been touring colleges, and it’s wonderfully incisive. When I sat on college admission committees and led information sessions for visitors, I truly thought that what we were discussing was unique. When I left college admissions and became an independent college advisor, I learned how very wrong I was. We simply didn’t get it! Kuh has put his finger on the pulse of a very real problem for colleges: they’re asking families to make enormous investments, and in many cases failing to make the campus visit experiences reflect what’s truly distinctive about each of their institutions.

This is why we provide students with our favorite campus visit guide, filled with great questions to ask, and why we recommend adding unstructured time for further exploration of each campus. It’s still important to participate in the official tour and information session – students might learn something useful and they’ll be demonstrating interest to the college.  But all campus visitors should ask plenty of questions to shape this experience to their own needs.

Article below published September 7, 2016

Written by:  Simon Kuh

I traveled across 12 states, from Georgia to Rhode Island, touring colleges this summer, a ritual thousands of families take part in every year. I listened while admissions officials repeated the dos and don’ts of the application process: Don’t send 20 recommendation letters when only two are required, meet the deadlines, don’t email random questions to demonstrate your interest. Asking about the weather in a particular college town, for example, doesn’t qualify as a necessary or thoughtful query. (As one admissions officer said, “Do I look like the weather channel?”) I appreciated all their useful advice, and I’d like to return the favor with some of my own.

I went on my tour to get a sense of each college’s personality, to experience in person what I couldn’t by reading brochures. I wanted to feel a connection with a school. Yet I came away without a clear favorite since no school combined a great information session and a great tour. This led me to an unexpected conclusion: You never get both.

Read more at LA Times >>

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