Tips to Save Money for Your Next College Visit
College visits are exciting for students and parents, but the costs of hotels, meals, airplane tickets, and gas add up to a considerable sum. Here are some ways to make this part of the college search affordable.
Get help from the school
Many schools offer discounted lunches, hotel stays, free shuttle service, or even free airfare. Blog.collegegreenlight.com keeps an annually updated list of every college that offers fly-in programs. If your target school isn’t listed, phone the admissions office and ask; they can connect you with resources to make your trip affordable.
Tour from home
Use the internet to conduct a tour from the comfort of your home. Many college websites have all the information you’d learn from a tour and offer virtual tours that students can take on their own time. Check out youvisit.com to browse over 100 virtual tours complete with student tour guides. As a bonus, many schools favor informed interest; the more facts about a college your child mentions in an essay, the better their chances are of getting in.
Translate visits into savings
Some colleges offer fee waivers for students who visit. The $50 application fee most colleges charge multiplied by the average of seven schools each student applies to, adds up to $350! Save that by visiting the college in person.
Schedule for efficiency
Most college tours take under an hour and most “college towns” have several colleges. If you speed-tour, you can hit several in one day. But while the tour might be quick, it won’t show as much “demonstrated interest” in a college if you were to dine and dash. To get the most application boost from your visit, stay for an info session. Provide complete and accurate information to the school so they can easily match it with your application. If it’s an important university, scheduling an interview is a good idea. It’s best to visit just two schools a day to make the most out of this “vacation.”
Tour with a group
College group tours are growing in popularity. They save hundreds of dollars, and your child can see up to 21 colleges in eight days. These tours cover the cost of hotels, transportation, and meals and remove the decision of which schools are best for your child to see and when. It also preserves some of your vacation days!
College may be the best stage of life, but the touring part of that process can seem frantic and be a drain on your wallet. Take the time to research and find the school of your child’s dreams without turning your savings into a nightmare.