Nothing boggles parents’ minds more than road trips or virtual tours to explore college campuses. Especially now. Where to begin?
Janice Caine parlayed her own and Alan’s experiences into Custom College Visits https://customcollegevisits.com/ in 2010. Her husband, a Boca Chamber YEA! mentor for students, stepped in as the techie and marketing contact. This is their busy season.
Q: Where do you come in?
A/J: In some part of the college search process. That’s why it’s customized. Every student is different: 85% of the students have a college list.
Q: When does the college list start?
A/A: Some kids start in their senior year and some start in seventh grade. We come in when…parents want to get more involved and don’t know where to start. We help them plan their itinerary.
A/J: We can assist them before they go on their trip and help them prioritize.
Q: When is your busy season?
A/J: It starts building up in February and goes to August. Some people don’t go until July, but plan earlier.
Q: How long do you advise the list to be?
A/A: Students shouldn’t apply to more than 11 or 12 schools. Our package is eight schools, allowing for two distinct trips.
Q: Where are your clients from now?
A/A: We have a client from Russia, but most are domestic; 25% of families are repeat clients for their next child or children.
Q: How many schools do you advise them to visit in a day?
A/A: The idea is for the student to get to know the college and community. We factor in the travel time and families may mix this with sightseeing and vacation.
Q: Are these schools mostly maybes?
A/J: For most trips, they’re still in the college search process. The majority of people are looking to get familiar with the college campus and if that’s a fit for them before they apply.
A/A: For the most part, we don’t get involved in the decision. It’s important to us that a student meets a current student on campus. We had a student from China interested in martial arts and found out there was a club on campus. We also try to arrange a meeting with a professor.
Q: Do you include other consultants in the trip planning?
A/A: We partner with a concierge travel company to put a trip together and a travel app.
Q: How are you handling colleges only doing virtual campus tours?
A/J: We’ve added this service. We try to keep this as close as possible. So, if they can’t sit in on a class, they can meet with a student in a Zoom call. We include the live virtual visit and schools work hard to make it as close, so it’s like an introduction to school.
A/A: Our challenge right now is to get people traveling again.
By Marci Shatzman