If you have the opportunity visit- either for a day or overnight- any of the schools that you might choose to attend, visit.

An accepted student visit (AKA 'student re-visit day') is very different from your tour and time on campus as part of the application process. You’re in and the pressure’s off and, in many respects, you’re seen as a rising member of the community.

Whereas, most everyone with whom you came in contact on your tour and interview was on their best behavior, your accepted student visit is a chance to gain a feeling for the school without a sales pitch.

Attend and go to any events offered. Stay overnight if you can if you’re considering a boarding school. Gain a feeling for how things work:

  • Is everyone up, moving and on time?

  • How are the classes?

  • What do students have to say about their academics, the dorms, the food, the adults in the community?

  • Does the school have feel and have the opportunities to help you do well.

After the visit, write down your thoughts. You might be comparing two schools or you might have more questions for a particular school.

Here’s the most important thing. Don’t be afraid to express your concerns if your experience raises any red flags.

I write from personal experience on the raised red-flag issue. Years ago, I spent an overnight at a school as part of the interview process. Good interview, nice tour, interesting classes. I liked the school.

Then, the overnight. The students in the dorm never slept. They were up all night. Not doing anything bad- mostly playing cards and board games. But, I knew enough- even at 16- to tell my parents that this was not a good fit.

Keep your parents informed and solicit their advice if you need their input.

You want to find a good school fit up-front rather than make a quick change later.