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I can’t even believe I’m writing about this, but it’s true. My family is entering a new phase of family travel: college visits.
I remember when I was in high school, my mom and I flew from Denver to Missouri to check out a college. I was very interested in that school, and I was sure that’s where I would end up going.
My mom talked me into visiting a college that was two hours away from that one since “we were in the neighborhood.” I reluctantly agreed. I fell in love with that second school, and my search was over.
By the time I was ready to look at colleges, I had already been on several college visits with my older brother and sister. I already had an idea of what I liked and what I didn’t like. Unfortunately, my kids have not been on any college campuses except for the outskirts of my husband’s alma mater, which is just an hour away. So, it’s time to start.
First Visit: Texas A&M
My son is heading to College Station, Texas for a tennis event this summer. He will be a sophomore in high school. We figured that while we’re in town, we should do a formal tour of Texas A&M University.
Despite being just over three hours away, neither my husband nor I have ever visited College Station. It’s not really on the way to anywhere.
We plan to drop our son off at his event and return later in the week at the end of the event. That afternoon, we will do a formal college tour and spend the night in the town before heading back home the next day. I already booked our hotel because I discovered that freshman orientation is going on the same week, and rooms were already disappearing.
Texas A&M is a huge campus with almost 70,000 students. It has excellent freshman retention as well as graduation stats, but it is also very competitive to get accepted. If my son likes it there, maybe it will keep him motivated to keep his grades up. If he doesn’t like it, then we can cross it off the list.
The Plan for Future College Visits
Our plan is to tour colleges or at least informally check out campuses whenever we’re in the area from now on. During my son’s junior year, we will go to future student weekends and formal tours of the ones where he will most likely apply.
If he plans to apply to any out-of-state colleges, we will likely wait to tour those until after he is accepted and receives enough merit scholarships to attend. Unless he makes up his mind very early in senior year, we will refrain from making spring break plans that year so that we can revisit his final choices that week.
Of course, we will use miles and points to help reduce our travel costs wherever it makes sense.
I would love to hear from families who have already been in this travel phase. Did you incorporate college visits into your other vacations? How many college visits did you have?
Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.