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College Road Tripping for Parents

For high school juniors, the summer before their senior year is an important time in the college planning process. This is typically a time to begin exploring college campuses. These trips will help your child and you "try on" a school.

To make the most of your college visit experience, plan ahead.

Narrow the list of schools to visit at any one time. This will help alleviate information overload. Oftentimes, campus tour information can be found on the school's website, making it easier to build an itinerary.

Review marketing materials from the school and then work with your child to develop a list of questions and ask them all. Learn about resources available to students, such as healthcare, the library, tutors and advisors. Visit with a financial aid advisor to discuss options.

Encourage your child to explore on his or her own by visiting the student union and campus hangouts, asking questions of students and possibly staying overnight on campus with a student. Admissions offices often can arrange for these stays.

Take notes and bring a camera. Details can become easily confused if you make several visits.

You both need to feel comfortable with the college decision, so use this time to understand which schools are the best "fit." College visits can be rewarding for the entire family, so embrace the experience and enjoy the time spent exploring the future with your student.