Visiting Campuses. It’s That Time of the Year Reply

Going on a campus tour is a great way for both students and parents to get a sense of what a college has to offer and a feel for the entire campus environment first-hand.

For students, a campus visit will help you find out about the social scene, what kinds of activities are available, and the dorm room living situation. For parents, you can find out if a specific college will give your child the education they need to help them become successful after graduation. Student-to-teacher ratio, average classroom size, extracurricular clubs, and sports are all things that will factor into the decision of whether or not a college is a good fit.

Start by researching local and distance campuses online to see what each has to offer and choose a few that you would like to visit. Be selective about how many campuses you would like to visit. Campus tours can take a half or even a whole day depending on how in depth you would like to get.

Once you are ready to schedule a campus visit, contact the admissions office so that you can find out when tours are offered and if you need to reserve a spot. Typically, campus tours are done with a group of other prospective students and their parents, so be sure to call ahead in advance.

Also, ask the admissions representative about informational sessions where you can learn more about the college’s history, courses and majors offered, financial aid, tuition and fees, and any other questions you might have that you aren’t able to find in brochures or by visiting the college online. This is also a good time to find out about other opportunities that you can arrange, including attending a class and meeting with a professor, going to a club or sports event, visiting the student union and eating in the dining hall, and sometimes even spending a night in a dorm.

As you are walking around the campus, peeking your head into classrooms, and collecting informational resources, don’t be afraid to ask a few questions to some of the college’s existing students. Here are some great questions you could ask to give you an insider’s view of the college:

  • How easy is it to meet with professors after class?
  • Is it easy to register for the classes you want?
  • How do you like living in the dorms?
  • What sorts of activities outside of class do you like to do?
  • What is the reputation of the sororities and fraternities?
  • Is there anything that you don’t like about the campus?
  • What is the safety and security like on campus?

With the vast amount of choices for incoming freshman, it pays to be selective when choosing a college or university that is great fit throughout your entire degree program. Take notes and consider scheduling a follow-up visit to the school you are leaning towards. Going to college can be a very expensive endeavor, but it will pay off in the end – especially if you chose one where you are most likely to be successful and happy.

Use Online Course to Pick the Right College Major Reply

Written by Joseph Rauch, writer at SkilledUp.

Have you decided on your major? If so, great! However, you won’t actually know what it will be like until you take a course.

Only a few years ago, there was no practical way of testing the water before stepping onto campus. Students had to take a somewhat blind leap and hope the courses in their majors would live up to their expectations and fulfill their passion. If they didn’t, oh well. There went a huge chunk of their money and at least a year of their lives.

Students do have the option of entering college with an undeclared major. However, this means they run the risk of wasting time and money by sampling in-person courses in an effort to figure out their major. For example, a student could spend hundreds of dollars and an entire semester on an introductory economics course only to discover the field wasn’t right for them.

Now things are different. Thanks to the rise of Massive Open Online Courses [MOOCs] and their respective providers, incoming college freshman have a way to test drive their major for free online instead of discovering whether they like it after they’ve already registered.

MOOCs attempt to offer as much of the college course experience as possible from the comfort of your home computer. Each one has video lectures, class materials such as slides, quizzes, and assignments, and the option of reaching out to professors and fellow students for feedback and answers to important questions. You can take them on a schedule or sign up for self-paced, archived courses, which will limit your interactivity but still offer the same information.

These courses are a smart way of planning ahead so you don’t end up with the wasted investment in a major that did not live up to your expectations. MOOCs also help high schoolers affirm their interests and prepare for their majors before entering college.

“I’ve always been pretty interested in programming, but I had never had a lot of exposure to it,” said Florida high school senior David Cooney. “Through Coursera and a few entry level programming courses, I was able to get a better understanding of what computer science was like. I’m applying to a few schools in Florida and to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with my intended major being computer science.”

Cooney is one of millions of online course takers who have used Coursera, which people in ed tech often refer to as one of the “Big Three” MOOC providers. There are also older students who take MOOCs and look back on the issue of choosing a college major with a nuanced perspective, wishing they had once enjoyed the option of testing the water with free resources.

“When I decided on my major, I was extending my high school interests, most often created by a teacher who had made an impact,” said Thomas Johnson, an avid MOOC taker in his 50s and Germanic studies scholar, as he described his college years. “Bad mistake. I went all the way through pre-lims and was writing a dissertation before I awoke to my actual interests. My excuse is simple: I was making these decisions before the digital information age.”

Johnson also recommends using Quora, a curated online forum that allows you to pose questions and receive answers from a community.

“So my advice is simple: examine which Quora topics get you interested or intrigued. Then take a free MOOC to see if the academic approach to that topic still works. Then go for it at the very best school you can find to match your skills and abilities,” he said.

Granted, this advice may not be for everyone. If you have no idea what your interests are, college can be a great place to discover that so long as you can afford it.

Still, it’s clear that MOOCs are one way to test drive your major, discover new interests, and perhaps even give yourself an advantage over other freshman. Most of them are free. So, the worst case scenario is that you’ll waste a few hours of your life as opposed to hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on the wrong major.

Joseph Rauch is a Writer who graduated with a degree in psychology and creative writing from NYU. He writes for SkilledUp and has published pieces with The Huffington Post, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, FindSpark, The Halo Group, and many more publications.

Is Studying for the SAT Useless? Reply

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Crash Course in College Essay Writing – 12 Tips to Get You Started and Your Juices Flowing Reply

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Ask a Writing Expert: Q&A with Grammar Girl Reply

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Read on for a transcript of my Q&A session with Grammar Girl, and be sure to check out her website, podcast, and newsletter for more helpful writing tips. More…

Prepping Your Homeschooler for the SAT Reply

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The ACT “Science” Section: A Dishonest Name, and the Ultimate Strategy to Beat It Reply

UnknownIf there’s one section of the ACT that initially terrifies all my students (and their parents), it’s the ACT “science” section. On top of all the comprehension, math, and grammar tricks you need to know for this test, you’re expected to know science, too!?

Fortunately for you, the ACT science section has absolutely nothing to do with science — and once you realize the key approach to beat it, it’s an absolute breeze. This article will show you a basic approach that’ll cut your ACT science time in half and double your accuracy in less than two rounds of practice. More…