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Challenge: Summer Fun

​Summer College Tours and Parents: What is my Role?

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For high school students thinking about attending university, summer is the classic time for college tours. Many times, parents join the tour and find out just as much about the campus and community. But since you, the parent, are not attending college with your student, what is your role during these presentations? How can you best help your student without smothering him or her with your opinion? Here are three things parents should try to do while visiting colleges with their students this summer:

Ask the logistical questions

Your student might get swept up in the magic of the tour – sales pitches can do that to a person. Be the one who can ask the tough questions during summer campus tours: How long will this be under construction? Why is the graduation rate that number? How often are these computers updated? Are there any dining options closer than that? It may sound like you’re bursting the campus tour bubble, but in reality you’re shedding light on problems that could possibly overshadow the fun of the college experience. Is it hot and muggy inside the dorm rooms? Ask about it. If you’re lucky, you may get positive answers, such as: “We’re replacing dorm air conditioners this summer.” But if the news is not so good, it is better to know now than before your student is trying to study in the heat.

Remain positive and unbiased

Regardless of the answers you receive to your questions, maintain a positive and unbiased attitude while touring the school, even if you feel the last university you visited was a better fit. Let your student work on making up his or her own mind during the tour, then ask his or her opinion after the fact. If you – or your student – decided prematurely that the college is a no-go, you may miss perks and positives brought up later during your tour.

Be honest

After the tour, ask your student what he or she thought of the school before you state your opinion. Listen to all of the positives and negatives, and then explain your opinion. Be honest about what you liked and did not like – but maintain that positive attitude. As someone with more life experience, your honest opinion may shed light on areas your student could overlook. Emotions may be high when working out a life choice such as this, and traveling can introduce additional stress to the mix. Positivity may help keep conversations from turning into arguments. Instead of saying you did not like School A, try talking about how much you did like School B. College is a time of independence for your child, and part of this transition is letting his or her opinion shine in this situation.

You want what’s best for your child, and you made time in your schedule to join these tours to help find the right school. Remember that your dedication to your student’s best interest is the driving force of your attendance! Be there to ask the tough questions while on summer college tours, all while remaining positive and adding honest perspective.

For more tips and strategies to help your student succeed in school, visit

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