Responsible Decision-Making

Whats a Responsible College Visit

Project and Purpose

College visits can be a useful tool if used correctly, students will answer questions to learn about how to go about responsibly making a college visit.

Video Overview:

High school seniors around the country are in the process of deciding where to do to school next year. And a big part of that decision hinges on their visits to college campuses. But what goes on during those visits may be of a surprise to many.

Jordan, 17, has visited eight college campuses this fall. She and her friends have seen the campuses, spent the night in dorms and eaten in dining halls. But, she says, many high school seniors she knows have done even more. “If their parents are with them, they’re doing the responsible things, but as soon as their parents leave to go to the hotel or something and it’s just the students left behind, they go crazy. They go wild and they really don’t make good decisions,” she says.

In fact, surveys have shown that 40 percent of teenagers who stay overnight for a college visit will drink, use drugs or have sex. Jordan isn’t surprised at those numbers, especially after some of the wild stories her friends have brought back home. “My friend who went to freshman orientation, he ended up getting drunk, falling down a flight of stairs. A few other friends ended up losing their virginity just because they were drinking,” she says.

Experts say part of the problem is that “college visit” means different things to different kids. Joy Gray Prince, a director of college counseling at a high school explains, “I have kids all the time come into my office. I’ll say, ‘well, did you visit X university?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Did you have an official tour?’ ‘No, I went to visit my buddy, so-and-so.’ That is not a visit.”

A responsible visit, she says, and a safer one, has a specific agenda ahead of time. “What are you going to get out of this visit? Are you going to take a tour? Are you going to have an information session at the admission office? Will you make an appointment with a professor?” says Prince. She recommends parents should make sure their kids don’t visit over a weekend and should always contact the admissions office in advance, “because you want that college or university to know that you’ve been on that campus. Because for some [college admission decisions], demonstrated interest is important. They want to know to know you’ve been on

Loading the player...

Whats a Responsible College Visit

Discussion and Self-Reflection Questions

  • If you are planning a college visit, what are things that you would like to learn? Make a list of questions. Be sure to include specifics about academics, as well as the social life on campus.
  • Have you taken a college tour? What were your impressions? What did you learn?
  • Why do you believe “demonstrated interest” might be a consideration for college admission?
  • “They go wild and really don’t make good decisions,” commented one student in the video regarding college visits by high school students. Were you surprised that comment? How might you conduct yourself on a “responsible” college visit?
Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.