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Parental guidance: Tips for visiting college campuses

Q. Do you have tips on visiting college campuses with a teen?

A. "Keep an open mind," says Jennie Harris, assistant dean of admissions at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., who oversees more than 100 tour guides who meet more than 16,000 prospective students and their families each year. Here are some more of Harris' "do's" to make a great campus visit and tour:

*DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE YOU ARRIVE You'll waste everyone's time asking if there is a major in English.

*ASK GOOD QUESTIONS Ask the tour guide about her favorite class, best professor, campus culture, new initiatives, even the latest campus controversy.

*SCHEDULE AN INTERVIEW About 75 percent of incoming first-year students at Wake Forest, for instance, had one-on-one interviews in person or via Skype. This helps the admissions staff advocate for him or her when making tough decisions.

*EXPLORE THE STUDENT'S SPECIFIC INTERESTS For example, if chemistry is your passion, stop by the department and check out the labs. It's always best to call ahead and explore the possibilities of visiting a class, speaking with a faculty member or touring the facilities.

*KEEP YOUR SCHEDULE FLEXIBLEAfter the tour, eat in the food court. Pick up campus publications, fliers and community information. Check out the fitness facilities or the fine arts center. People-watch. Then, have the teen ask, "Can I see myself here?" For more advice from Harris, see /articles/view/591523/?sc=dwhr&xy=5016451.

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