Visit colleges on the cheap
Ways to cut costs include
• Narrow choices and visit only the top one or two on the list.
• If your family is taking a vacation, make colleges the destination.
• Visit in-state schools with friends also considering them, splitting gas and hotel bills.
If you can't visit
While there's no substitute for visiting, virtual tours (check the college's Web site or www.campustours.com) may be of some use.
A caution: "Look at them with the understanding that they're going to show the college in its best light," suggests Doug Scrima, The Evergreen State College's director of admissions.
A school may be able to send you a DVD or video as well. Better yet, check out some of the independently made DVDs that show the colleges, warts and all.
"The U: Uncut" has a DVD for West, Northeast, South and Midwest colleges, at $20 each, with about 20 minutes devoted to each school, and a DVD for Ivy League colleges. Cost of a box combination with all the DVDs is $49.99 plus shipping.
For longer previews of a college, collegiatechoice.com offers a selection of more than 350 colleges in the U.S., Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom at $15 per tour plus shipping.
— Some material from The Seattle Times staff was included in this report.
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company