College tours often skip important offices: student money management, career services and academic department offices.
Take the tour of the gym, cafeteria, and student center. Then, schedule time with these offices before you get there:
The career services office in the journalism program of the University of North Texas is the reason why you are reading this article from me today. I was in my last semester of college and popped in to ask about career opportunities. I was told about a local newspaper looking for writers.
I ended up writing weekly columns for first-time renters and homebuyers. It was my first financial writing gig, and I’ve written four books that were reviewed in over 300 newspapers since.
Make sure your student visits the career office they’d most likely use. Schedule appointments in advance. They’ll learn about internship opportunities and what kind of career guidance they’ll receive.
Work Co-Op Offices
The work co-op office is essentially the other career services office. Through this office, students gain employment in their career field with either part-time work in their career field and / or full-time employment during the summer or in alternating semesters. The work often supplements the cost of college and can lead to full-time employment after graduation.
Business, government, and engineering jobs dominate work co-op program offerings. But students may have a variety of other choices available, depending on the college.
Academic department offices
Visiting academic department offices is as much about talking to professors and finding about coursework as it is talking to students in the majors the student is interested in.
When I was choosing a college when I returned to school, I called the department offices at my top three top choices and asked “Where are your students interning?”, “Where are they working after graduation?”, and “Why should I choose your school?”
I chose the University of North Texas because they told me about the practical experience I’d receive in both classes and internships. On top of it, the students who worked in the department office loved the program.
Offices that help with student budgeting
My favorite office is the student money management office. It specifically deals with helping students plan their budgets.
It’s very important that there is someone on campus that can help your student with financial questions about living on campus. Often these offices are staffed with peer counselors who will have similar lifestyles to your student.
If a school doesn’t have a student money management office, they should talk to financial aid or staff at an on campus credit union. Of course, talk to people in the financial aid office, too, for additional scholarship information.
Deeper visits into student activities offices
Campus tours generally don’t like to skip over the student union, gyms, and other offices that showcase the fun side of campus. That doesn’t mean your student will get an accurate view of what student life would be like for them.
In student government and activities offices, your student can ask about the activities and clubs they want to participate in and get contacts for who’s running them. Those contacts can tell them how much each activity will really cost.
For fitness, ask about classes at the gym. Also, ask the rec center about and recreational sports and activities. Do a thorough cost analysis. For instance, you won’t just want to know that there are tents and kayaks to rent. You’ll want to know how much it costs to get to the locations where students use the equipment. They can also ask about planned trips.
- Campus visits should include offices beyond the college tour.
- Set appointments with important offices such as career services before arriving on campus.
- Set a goal to understand budgeting items beyond the cost of attendance. Student money management, student government, and student activities offices can help estimate items in student budgets.
- Never skip the office where the student’s major resides. They should try to meet professors and students currently in the program.
- Career services and work co-op offices are vital to meet with while on campus. How much these offices help boost your student’s future success.