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MN colleges make Oct. 21-24 visits easy with guide & travel grid

From the department of press releases that actually deliver news you can use: Mindful that high schools will be closed Oct.

From the department of press releases that actually deliver news you can use: Mindful that high schools will be closed Oct. 21-22 for the state teachers’ convention, the Minnesota Private College Council wants teens and parents to know that many of its member institutions are holding special campus events for prospective students.

In terms of getting high-school juniors and seniors thinking about the college application process, the timing is great. And the coordinated effort is a clever idea. 

Details about each school’s events can be found on the group’s website under the heading “Fall Campus Visit Calendar.” There are also profiles of all of the colleges and even information on coping with the cost of tuition.

The group suggests families think about making a weekend of it, and has even cooked up a grid listing drive times from school to school. Too bad they couldn’t have cooked up some magic formula for staving off fall color peaks to coincide with the touring weekend. 

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“Setting foot on campus is really important to helping students and parents imagine where they’re going to find a good fit,” said John Manning, the council’s director of marketing and communications. “Sure, there’s a lot you can find out online, but it’s not the same.”

Minnesota’s public colleges and universities are also eager to host prospective students on their campuses, although with 32 institutions on 54 campuses in 47 communities, there’s no coordinated blitz. A few MNSCU schools won’t hold classes Thursday and Friday because of the same Minnesota Education Association convention that’s emptying K-12 classrooms, but campuses will be open, according to Manning’s MNSCU counterpart, Melinda Voss.

“Each college and university has its own culture,” said Voss. “It’s important to talk to admissions people about programs the prospective student might be interested in.”

Voss may not have put together a nifty road-trip grid, but there’s lots of information available on MNSCU’s website. Her suggested starting point: Click on the map of Minnesota in the lower left-hand corner of the homepage to find an interactive map; each school’s individual page has details and instructions for setting up a tour.

Prospective students can also find tips for getting the most out of their visits on both groups’ sites. MNSCU’s pointers can be found here under “additional resources.” The council’s ideas for ways to really get to know a school are here.