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Visiting a Technology College

When visiting a technology college, there are seven specific details that students should consider.

When visiting a technology college, there are seven specific details that students should consider.

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College visits are a very important part of the college selection process, as students can get a feel for the campus and learn about the place they might spend the next four years of their lives. Touring a technology school is slightly different and the suggestions made by College Parenting Expert, Wendy David-Gaines, will help families of students considering attending such schools.

There are seven specific details that students should consider when visiting technology schools and you can find them in Wendy’s article below. If you missed last week’s article sharing the benefits of attending a technology school, you can find it here.


Visiting a Technology College

The purpose of a college visit is to decide whether or not to attend if given the chance. Savvy parents and students come prepared with questions about their key must-haves that would prompt submission of an application for admission. This is true for touring traditional two-year, four year and technology schools but the latter also requires some special attention to certain details.

Students seek out technology colleges for opportunities to apply classroom instruction, practical knowledge and skills learned in fields of applied technology in real-world settings. Davie Jane Gilmour, Ph.D. is President of Pennsylvania College of Technology. “It’s an approach that results in a 94-percent placement rate for our graduates, who earn ‘degrees that work’ in high-demand, recession-proof occupations while availing themselves of a full college experience offering our students a well-rounded education and representing a sound investment in a secure future,” explains Dr. Gilmour.

Technology colleges like Penn College may offer students baccalaureate and associate degrees with majors in more than 100 career fields of applied technology but their facilities and contacts with various industries differ widely. It is up to families to find out what matters most to them. Here is a list of seven things to consider during a visit to a technology college:

Look at the facilities. The types of equipment and workstations available determine the degree of hands-on experience students will receive. Find out how much time students spend and what they will do in these “labs.” Also, don’t be distracted by the bells and whistles of amazing programs the student has no interest in.

Check out accreditation. For example, ABET’s accreditation site states it “sets the global standard for programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology.” Note that Plastics and Polymer Engineering Technology students take different classes than those majoring in Engineering/Science materials leading to different jobs and salary levels. And the American Chemical Society issues ACS approval of baccalaureate chemistry programs. Employers often prefer graduates for hiring and promoting from accredited and approved programs so students need to understand what each school offers from the beginning.

Find out about college-student joint ventures. Beyond formal internships and student clubs, colleges may sponsor contests and projects for students to get a chance to add to their resume by practicing their skills in creative and useful ways. These extra perks can be fun and rewarding. For example, at Penn College welding students fabricated campus outdoor sculptures, a culinary student earned a Golden Ticket to the World Food Championship in Las Vegas from a faculty-judged cook-off, and the Victorian House which hosts special guests to campus was designed by an architectural technology student.

See what awards or recognitions students and the college have received. It shows interest and excellence in the fields of participation.

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Talk to current students, sit in on a class or shadow a student if possible, and speak with a professor. Speaking with admission and financial aid staff is fine but go beyond for additional insight into what it would be like to be a student there.

Discover the degree of college-community corroboration. Good relations with off-campus neighbors is a definite plus to the college experience. Student-friendly housing, shops, eateries, events and attractions add to the breadth and quality of college life. Think discounts and cultural opportunities.

Spend time in the careers office. Learn how the college helps current students and alumni prepare and connect with employers and entrepreneurial possibilities. Discover how many students find internships and jobs from local businesses and industries, in what fields and salary levels. Think about the likelihood of the student remaining in the area and the lifestyle they would have.

Applying technology to be successful in the workplace is increasingly vital for future careers. Those interested in earning such a degree at a technology college can follow the seven tips when visiting.

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