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Perspective: Go Beyond The College Tour

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Once a decision is made to attend college, then subsequent choices  await. My daughter receives stacks of letters from colleges trying to entice her. Most of them tout benefits so similar that they become virtually indistinguishable.   


What should she ask? Some choices are fixed due to financial considerations and admissions. But after that, it’s well to remember that final decisions usually hinge on the campus visit.   


For over twenty years, campus tours in the United States have emphasized a fun experience on visit day over touting excellent instruction and other learning-related aspects. Potential students are ushered through campus excursions designed to conjure unique memories, which include souvenirs and follow-ups.  


According to a Chronicle article by Eric Hoover, the business strategy of creating an “experience” increased dramatically on campuses through the efforts of Jeff Kallay, whose enthusiasm for Disney World helped him see that Americans react best to a show with memorable moments. This is better than hearing a litany of information easily accessible online.   


But it’s still wanting. If you’re searching for a college, go beyond the guide’s personal anecdotes. Talk to professors and attend at least two classes. You could say, “I’d like to meet current business students and employed alumni,” or “I read and write a lot at work; could I arrange a paid internship for college credit?” Also, ask the guide about other people on campus with your interests. Get connected to others with whom you’ll be setting sail. Good luck!  


I’m Bill Gahan, and that’s my perspective.  


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