College Visits

The College Search for Students with Asperger's

College-bound students with Asperger's syndrome face special challenges. Educational psychologist Jane McClure joins us this month to discuss those challenges and how they can be met successfully. Read on for her advice about college visits, easing the transition from high school for such students and more:

You have probably heard the term “Asperger’s” since the diagnosis has become increasingly common over the last ten years.  Asperger’s syndrome (or Asperger disorder) is an autism spectrum disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests, according to experts James McPartland and Ami Klin. Physical clumsiness and atypical (peculiar, odd) use of language may also be present.   It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of language and cognitive development and is sometimes described as “high functioning autism.”


Many students diagnosed with Asperger’s are very bright and are eager to attend college.  But they may have struggled at various times throughout their academic careers with behavioral, social, organizational or other issues.  Some students continue to have a very rough time during high school, while others have gained an understanding by that time of how they are “different” from other students and have learned how to cope with their uniqueness. 


Grinnell College Joins the Gourmet Guide

Is Grinnell College on your list of schools?  If you're planning a visit to this Iowa private liberal arts college known for its academics and tradition of social activism (Grinnell was a stop on the Underground Railroad!), we've got some recommendations for you while you're in town! Thanks to Director of Admission Doug Badger, you won't have to worry about where to find great Midwestern farm-to-table fare after a day exploring this 120-acre campus.  From poppyseed pancakes to bruschetta burgers or chicken stuffed with kale and parmesan or hand-cut prime rib, we've got you covered. Check out Grinnell's restaurant recommendations here. Oven-baked breadsticks with meat sauce… Mmmm…

Juniors: This week's advice? Eat pie...


Juniors, our advice for this week is to eat more pie. This is a time for relaxing with family and friends. One suggestion, though -- if you're visiting family near a college in which you might be interested, consider taking a drive through the nearby campus. The admission office will likely be closed, but it's still a great time to walk through the grounds.  And if a visit isn't in the cards, then stick with the program of football, pie, family and sleeping in.


For more on college visits, including campus visit etiquette, getting off the beaten track to learn more about a school, and questions to ask tour guides and admission officers, see Chapter 9, "College Visits," in College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step.

University of Puget Sound Joins the Gourmet Guide

Roasted curried eggplant potpie, wood-fired pizza, wild salmon tacos -- we've got the best bets for where to dine when  visiting the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. From Pacific Northwest seafood and artisanal roast coffee to Thai curry and Argentinian steak, there's something for everyone in this urban port city in western Washington.  Whether you're looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner or beyond, you can start here while planning your visit to this liberal arts college just 35 miles south of Seattle. Smoked bacon and cheddar macaroni, anyone?  That's where we'd start --at the Rosewood Café.  Check it out here.

Purchase College SUNY Joins the Gourmet Guide


If you're traveling to Westchester County in New York to look at colleges, you'll probably be stopping at Purchase College, part of the State University of New York network -- or Pace University or Iona College or the College of New Rochelle. Thanks to the students and Office of Admissions at Purchase, we've got the goods on where to eat. Cheeseburgers to vegan spinach curry, Nutella pizzette, fondue! and BBQ Beercan Chicken -- there's something for everyone. Check it out here

Beloit College Joins the Gourmet Guide

Visiting Beloit College or another school in the environs of Beloit, Wisconsin, located on the state's border with Illinois? If so, we have recommendations for where to dine from their Office of Admissions. There's a Farm Taco Scramble from Bushel & Peck's, a store and restaurant specializing in locally-sourced organic food, great bagels at Bagels and More, and burgers and salads at Little Bistro. But wait! Don't miss the opportunity to check out one of Wisconsin's famous supper clubs for a peak old-fashioned, fine dining experience. Read more about it and Beloit College's other recommendations here.

Juniors: A "practice" visit at a local college


Fall break coming up? Or a long weekend? Do a test-run visit at a local college. College visits provide crucial information for making a good match between you and a school. And at this point, you don't have to venture far. Visits to any campus can help you zero in on what's important to you. So take the tour at a college within driving distance -- even if you aren't considering applying there. You'll experience a tour and a group information session (if offered, not all colleges do) so that you get a sense of a college visit. A "practice" visit like this will help you make good firsthand evaluations later, when you visit the colleges in which you are most interested.

For more on college visits, including campus visit etiquette, getting off the beaten track to learn more about a school, and questions to ask tour guides and admission officers, see Chapter 9, "College Visits," in College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step.

Thank you, thank you

Thank you to the students, parents, and counseling staff of Palo Alto High School and Gunn High School in northern California! It was wonderful to have the opportunity to talk with all of you about everything from college visits and extracurriculars to AP's and financial aid. And it's great to hear what is on the minds of students and parents when it comes to college admission!

Caltech Joins the Gourmet Guide

From California institutions like In-N-Out and Peet’s Coffee to vegan fare, sushi, Argentinean steakhouses and healthy Mexican take-out, we’ve got recommendations for you from the Admissions staff of California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Personally, we would head for the Pie ‘n Burger. What’s not to like at a place with that name! Check all the reviews here in the Gourmet Guide.    

The College Road Trip

Many of you are heading out on your first college road trips. Here coauthor Christine VanDeVelde remembers her first college visits with her daughter: A few years ago, my daughter and I ventured forth on a short tour.  We managed to walk the Vanderbilt campus in Nashville, Tennessee, in the middle of what they call a “dogwood winter” – the trees are blossoming as temperatures plummet. We then flew north to Chicago, just in time for an epic snowstorm that closed O’Hare for a day and a half. After trudging along the campus on the edge of Lake Michigan in ballet flats, we holed up in an Evanston hotel, bundled in our new Northwestern sweats watching Pay-per-View movies. My husband took the next trip that summer – Lehigh, Yale, Boston University, Dartmouth, and Cornell -- where they had to buy new shoes to accommodate  the amount of walking they did but enjoyed much better weather and a side trip to Legally Blonde on Broadway. Despite blisters, traffic jams and inclement weather, we found these road trips to be peak parenting experiences – some of the most memorable and enjoyable times we have spent with our daughter.