Tips for Planning Your Summer College Visit

Planning a college trip is daunting. There are many factors to consider, including cost, where to visit, and choosing colleges that “fit.” There is also the issue of managing all of the emotions that come up with teenagers while visiting colleges. Our biggest recommendation is to make sure students know that visiting colleges is not about picking your “dream college.” It’s about understanding:

  • What is college?
  • What do I want from college?
  • What does college want from me?

When my students return from their trips, I ask them to debrief me on what they noticed and what they wondered. We try to stay away from black and white language like, “What did I like?” and “What did I not like?” (Click here Ethan Sawyers’s amazing Research Document) 

Here are some tips to streamline your college visit planning process:

  • Encourage your student to engage in the planning. 
  • Identify regions that includes clusters of schools (Northeast, Ohio, California).
  • Check out Covid policies before booking travel.
  • Avoid over-scheduling (students will often get visits confused).
  • Create a balance of big, medium, and small schools.  
  • Create a balance between reach, possible, and likely schools (join our webinar next month on how to build a college list).
  • Fill out all contact forms on the college website (this is key for demonstrating interest).
  • Research the name of your regional representative (consider setting up a meeting when you are in town).
  • Watch a virtual tour and information session before you visit to make the most efficient use of your time.
  • Understand the different types of tours: 


  • Facilitated by current students or alumni.
  • Can help you understand the social scene, school spirit, and overall fit.
  • Provide insight into life outside of academics.

Information Session

  • Usually led by admissions counselors.
  • Provide information on application requirements and admission expectations.


Covid did wonders for virtual tours and access to self-guided opportunities. A few of our favorites are the New York University and Claremont McKenna apps. 

For more information about e.Merging Consulting, please visit our website! We would love to hear your story!

When is the Best Time to Visit Colleges?

I am often asked, “When is the best time to visit colleges and universities?” 

The answer is: When it works for your budget and your student’s schedule. Since school is out, many people find summer to be the best time to approach this important undertaking. In terms of your budget, have you considered the plans you may already have in place and how college visits could become a part of them? 

Taking a Vacation: Planning a road trip? Visiting grandparents in another state? Think about which schools you will encounter on the way and spend some time exploring! Make the most of your time by noting any on-campus art, science, or music events; museums; galleries; and festivals. (Enter here some summer happenings) 

Staying Local: You do not need to travel far to explore a new campus! There are likely colleges/universities in your area that can be visited in a day! Scope out some local schools and make a day of it. There are constant happenings at the University of Denver, Colorado State University, the University of Colorado, Colorado College, and other surrounding schools in Colorado. Why not chart a course to visit a few so your student can get a taste of life on different-sized campuses? (Enter some summer events at these schools) 

Staying home: Can’t get out of the house this summer? No stress! Many schools offer virtual tours and countless online resources. Just because you may not be able to visit physically does not mean you cannot research! We recommend YouVisit for virtual campus tours and information sessions. Other ways to engage virtually with colleges are by taking online summer courses or watching lectures by professors. (Enter links to You visit, College Scoops) 

PRO TIP: Safeguard against becoming overwhelmed by college visits by planning your trips (virtual or in-person) with a specific purpose and a flexible mindset.

Creating The Command Center

One of the questions I get asked all of the time is:  What can my family be doing now to prepare my student for college and beyond? 

My answer:  Strive to raise students who are independent, responsible, and citizens. How?  Create family systems that are rooted in values and hold children accountable for carrying their share of the chores and responsibilities. 

We refer to The Command Center as the place in the home where we keep schedules, chore charts, and manage weekly finances. This can be a bulletin board, a bedroom wall or a refrigerator. What’s important is that it is located in the home where parents can manage and make changes, and children can own and take responsibility. It’s also important to note that it is designed with the realization that this area and the materials in it are subject to change as children grow and needs shift.

Some examples include:

  • Post family values, or special quotes that sets the tone for the space

  • Create a family calendar where everyone’s schedule is laid out for the week

  • Message board with markers, chalk for reminders

  • Chore expectations in chart, lists, on clipboards

  • Weekly allowance system, envelopes, money clips, mason jars

  • Post family values, or special quote that sets tone for space

  • Sticky notes for last minute thoughts

Tell us your child’s story today:

What Steps To Take If You Get Deferred

Many people believe that being deferred marks the end of the road on their journey with a particular school, however, that is not always the case. There are several steps that you can take once you receive that deferral, and it is important to remain positive throughout the process. Here are four things you can do if you receive a deferral letter from a college or university: 

  1. Decide if that college is still your top choice. Does the deferment change how you feel about the school? Find someone whose opinion you trust & value so that you can talk it out. Weigh out the pros and cons and remain practical in your thought process. 
  2. Follow the instructions in your deferral notice. The college may need more information from you to help them make their decision. This could be updated grades/test scores, more recommendation letters, or an update on your extracurricular activities. Provide the requested materials in a timely manner. 
  3. Compose a deferral letter. Some colleges want to know that you are still committed to attending their school. This is a great opportunity for you to express why the school is a great fit for you as well as confirm your continued desire to attend. Remain upbeat and hopeful in your delivery, no matter how disheartened the situation may make you feel. 
  4. Focus on your backup plan. Once you’ve done everything you can do it is important not to lose sight of all the other amazing opportunities that await you! Continue to apply and look forward to the decisions of other colleges!

We are always here to help you understand this process and make the most out of the situation. Tell us your story today by clicking here:

Top Things You Can Be Doing NOW to Create a Competitive College Application

At e.Merging we believe that there is no such thing as “too early” to be thinking about the future.  We think of the resume as an opportunity to envision the future.  

  1. Foster meaningful relationships with your teachers 
  2. Continue to add to your list of extracurriculars 
  3. Research 1 school on your college list per week
  4. Sign up for a college fair in your area 
  5. Speak with your school counselor about your future plans 
  6. Begin organizing any information you come across about potential colleges in ONE place
  7. Get involved in your school and community whenever possible 
  8. Sign up for a SAT/ACT preparation course, or take practice tests 
  9. Self-reflect on experiences and activities in high school that were meaningful to you
  10. Plan ahead! Build a list and/or timeline. Application season will arrive before you know it, and you want to be as prepared as possible. 

We are always here to listen to your child’s story and help with this application process:

Why is Diversity of Experience Important?

Students with a diversity of experience have a background, upbringing, or other life circumstances that have fundamentally shaped how they see the world.

These experiences could be cultural, ethnic, religious, geographic, socioeconomic, or any number of factors that contribute to their unique perspective.

Why does Diversity of Experience matter?

  • Colleges strive to create classes of people who fit well with their school’s culture and mission, but who also bring a variety of perspectives and experiences that will add value to the school’s community.
  • Having a diverse class is more likely to lead to students doing a variety of things upon graduation, enabling a school to have a broader impact on the world.

We will be having a new webinar on March 7 from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM MST on College Preparation!

We will be discussing the practical steps for students and parents to create a competitive (and genuine) application.

Sign up here:

We look forward to seeing you then!

Did You Miss My Last Webinar?

The topic of my last webinar was, “What Are Colleges Looking For?

The Common Application requires students to share the “story” of their high school years by including transcript, test scores, activities list, resume, personal statement, and supplemental essays.  

College admissions officers are also looking for character traits that “bring the student to life beyond the numbers.”  The student’s responsibility is to prove these traits throughout the college application.

If you were unable to make my last webinar, we want to make sure you have access to this valuable information so please watch the recorded video below to learn more

Not to worry, we will be having a new webinar on March 7 from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM MST on College Preparation!

We will be discussing the practical steps for students and parents to create a competitive (and genuine) application.

Sign up here:

We look forward to seeing you then!

How “Initiative” Can Make a Difference?

Colleges want to see students exhibit initiative. Admissions officers seek “stories” that prove that students can  “take the reigns” and step into new opportunities. We work with students to create and document their experiences with the belief that the resume maps a “life well lived.”

What is Initiative?

Students who take the initiative are unwilling to accept the status quo but are willing to challenge it, do things to improve, and generate outcomes. They are proactive in finding solutions and putting them into action.

Why does Initiative Matter?

Students who take the initiative are unwilling to accept the status quo but are willing to challenge it, do things to improve, and generate outcomes. They are proactive in finding solutions and putting them into action.

To learn more about “what colleges are looking for,” check our blog on
Drive and Intellectual Curiosity or join us for a webinar on Monday, January 31, 2022 at 12:30-1:15 MST.

What Will Get Me Into College? Why Intellectual Curiosity Matters.

The college admissions process is stressful.  Students are bombarded with the pressure and expectation that they will have top scores, an abundant activity list, and write a personal statement that will blow everyone away.  In my college educational consulting practice, I find that most parents and students are confused and bewildered by the abundance of information.  As a top consultant in the field, I strive to provide researched-based and timely information so that students are informed with accurate advice. This month, I have been exploring the topic:  What are colleges looking for?  In last week’s post, we explored the topic of DRIVE as one of the traits that admissions directors seek.  The student’s job is to PROVE these traits by aligning personal narratives to the qualities inherent in Drive. Students who prove drive tell stories such as:

Examples of DRIVE

  • When I didn’t make the volleyball team, I joined rock climbing and now I climb 2 x’s a week and compete on a traveling team 
  • I struggled in Chemistry and instead of switching to the easier class, I started meeting with my teacher during her office hours 
  • I wanted to place in speech and debate so I found a mentor to work with me and now I am placing-and striving to place in nationals.

What is Intellectual Curiosity?

  • Intellectually curious students spend their free time learning for the fun of it, challenging their own views, and pondering new ideas.
  • These students will go above and beyond their coursework to gain a deeper understanding of the subjects and topics that interest them, such as by going on to the internet to learn more.
  • They love finding unique connections between their areas of interest and formulating new ideas. 

Why does Intellectual Curiosity matter?

  • Colleges know that students who are deeply interested in a subject or topic are more likely to succeed in classes, contribute to the college community, and be successful after graduating.
  • They want to empower intellectually curious students to make an impact on their chosen field.

Top 10 Tips to Prove Intellectual Curiosity  

1.  READ, READ READ. Students who read are more interesting and have more to say about the world.
2.  Listen to podcasts to expand interests and passions.

3.  Subscribe to magazines on topics that pique interest.

4. Documentaries are a great way to dig deeper beyond the classroom walls.

5. Sign up for academic programs in the summer that inspire and inform. 

6. Write an opinion piece for the local newspaper and submit it for publication. 

7. Secure an internship in an area of interest. 

8.  Get to know teachers and meet with them on a regular basis.

9.  Engage with a mentor and pursue a research project. 

10.  Keep track of all your efforts in a spread sheet as many colleges require a list of how a student has pursued their interests.




January 31 at 12:30 pm

Join Laura Barr in her Lunch and Learn as she explores the topic of “What exactly are colleges looking for and how can parents help.” This topic is relevant for parents of all ages.   

When is it?

January 31 at 12:30. 

Sign up with this link here: