|Starting the Search Strategy: College Template Tour
Written by: Annie Reznik
Typically, the college search and application process begins in earnest during a student’s junior year. To begin the college process, we encourage a “template trip.” Template trips offer students the opportunity to try out different college sizes (large, small), types (research, liberal arts), and settings (suburban, urban) in one trip. Some families may create a template trip in their home state, city, or region to minimize travel expenses. While other families may allow the student to choose the destination for a long-weekend trip and explore a new city’s neighborhoods via college campuses. Broadening the search process to ‘template’ schools enables students to focus on appealing attributes of a college rather than on specific institutions.
As you plan your trip, make sure to vary the selectivity of your template trip as much as possible. Exposing a student to MIT, Harvard, and Wellesley presents diversity in many respects, but in over-emphasizing the highly selective nature of college admission many high school students will be intimidated rather than inspired. If you are planning a trip, contact us for template suggestions!
Boston is known for the plethora of college choices and options. The challenge of building a template trip in Boston, is limiting the list of schools. Ideally, sophomores should not have defined a major course of study, though there may be leanings or emerging interests. The goal should be to visit to 3-4 very different institutions. My template trip would look like this:
Boston College is a Catholic-affiliated, medium-sized, suburban, research university. Boston College offers the only opportunity to see a Division 1 football setting in the greater Boston metro area. Younger students may be drawn to the familiarity of Boston College from their sports knowledge.
Emerson College is a very-small, private, urban specialty college. Unique majors like “set design” will spark students’ imaginations about the scope of collegiate possibilities. Emerson does not have a distinct campus but rather blends as part of the Boston landscape.
Northeastern University is a large, private, urban, co-operative university. Every student at Northeastern participates in a co-operative, hands-on experience for at least two semesters of their undergraduate experience. Students who lament busy work will appreciate the pragmatism of this style of instruction. And, a student who thinks: “I love English, but I don’t want to teach” can marvel at the array of employment opportunities for Northeastern English graduates.
Wellesley is a small, liberal arts college for women in a suburban setting. Wellesley offers one of the best liberal arts educations in the country, and its proximity to Boston makes it a perfect choice for a template trip. High school students can be reluctant to consider a single sex educational environment. However, the purpose of the template trip is exposure to diverse options. Let the visit start the conversation.
Towson University (large, public, suburban, university)
Johns Hopkins University (medium, private, urban, research university)
Loyola University of Maryland (small, private, comprehensive college)
Goucher College (small, liberal arts college, featured Colleges That Change Lives)
University of Delaware (medium, public, suburban university)
Temple University (large, private, urban university)
Ursinus College (small, suburban, liberal arts university, featured Colleges That Change Lives)
Villanova University (medium, suburban, comprehensive university)
University of Minnesota (large, public, research university)
Macalester College (small, private, liberal arts college, urban)
Carleton College (small, private, liberal arts college, rural)
Seattle, WA/Portland, OR
University of Washington (large, public, research university)
Lewis and Clark College (small, private, liberal arts college)
University of Portland (small, urban, private, Catholic-affiliated, university)
Seattle University (medium, urban, private, Catholic-affiliated, university)
Marymount University (small, private, suburban, Catholic-affiliated, university)
American University (medium, private, urban university)
University of Maryland, College Park (large, public research university)