Family & Pets

Preparing for College Visits – Where to start

January 1, 2019
Researching schools to visit


The college application process can be overwhelming for college bound students and their parents. I am going to share with you what we have done with our niece in order to get her started on her college search.

My niece, Daya, came to live with us on February 14, 2017, after my sister, her mother, passed away unexpectedly. At the time Daya was a freshman in high school.



Nothing could have prepared me for the role as legal guardian and parental figure. I don’t have any biological children and have zero experience with kids. At times I have felt like a complete disaster and failure.



During her sophomore year, Daya worked with a career counselor to help her assess possible careers based on her personality, goals and aptitude. I felt I could not help her since I had not gone to college via the traditional route.


Boston College visit


After graduating from high school, I started working at a small family grocery store, and taking a couple of classes at the local community college. I wanted to go to college, but could not afford to. Before completing my associates degree, I moved to Florida. After years of dreaming of going back to school, I enrolled full time in college and earned my bachelor’s degree in business. Two years later I completed a master’s in counseling psychology.

Working with a career counselor helped us identify possible careers and colleges to visit. This allowed us to better prepare for college visits. So far we have visited the University of Miami, Boston College, and the University of Boston. We are planning on doing more college visits over spring break this year.


University of Miami campus visit


It pays off to prepare before making a college visit. Call the admissions office and request information. Find out when tours are scheduled and reserve your spot. I can’t stress this enough, but speak with your child about their ideal college. It makes no sense to visit a large university if they would do better at a smaller college.



Do you have any tips or insights that may help other parents as they start preparing for college visits with their son/daughter? I welcome your feedback.

Thanks for reading!



  • Reply Jason January 2, 2019 at 1:00 am

    Great information, I also believe that it’s important to have a a real discussion on costs and responsibilities for college costs. Too often as parents we convince ourselves that we should carry the financial burden. This can lead to problems associated with retirement readiness in the future for the parents.

  • Reply Lily January 2, 2019 at 1:14 am

    Great post! I also find it really helpful to plan your college visits.

    • Reply Maricela January 2, 2019 at 1:55 pm

      Thank you, Jason, I will be sure to address your valuable advice on my next post. I am hoping to collaborate on a post with our wonderful career counselor, and will be sure to include information on the cost of higher education.

      • Reply Maricela January 2, 2019 at 1:56 pm

        Thank you, Lily!

  • Reply Jennifer January 3, 2019 at 1:19 am

    I’ve got a great tool for helping students compare the colleges they are considering! It allows them to evaluate based on what is important in the school they want to attend and in how congruent/aligned each school is with those things. Happy to share it.

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