Counselors We Are Here to Help! 8 Ways to Engage Students With Their College Search

Since we launched The College Tour TV series  in 2021, we have really enjoyed getting to know counselors across the country.

We know getting students to engage can often be challenging. We are here to help! Below are 8 ways to help engage them in continuing their path to higher education using The College Tour assets.

1) Share this list of all the colleges featured in The College Tour TV series with your students and their parents. In this spreadsheet, there is a tab to search by TV SEASON, or you can search by STATE. There are over 110 episodes on colleges across 36 states. We have episodes on big state Universities, small private colleges, Community Colleges, HBCUs, and Christian Colleges, and even Spanish-language episodes.

▪ The links in the spreadsheet will take your students directly to the College’s tour page. On this tour page they will find a 1 minute overview video on the college, 10 student video segments, a link to the half hour TV episode, and helpful inside scoop videos: Coffee with the PresidentAsk AdmissionsNavigating Financial Aid.

2) Put a link to The College Tour website on your HS website as a free and robust resource.

▪ Sample copy: “Learn about the culture of college campuses across the USA through the voices of current students by watching The College Tour TV series (”.

3) Posters. Print and hang posters for the TCT TV series and TCT class around your high school this summer. On the posters, there is a bar code where students can scan and watch episodes on their phones.

▪ Link here for posters.

4) Screen episodes of the TV series this fall during homeroom, during lunch, in the college readiness office. The episodes are around 28 minutes long. You can screen episodes directly from

5) Family Engagement. Encourage the students to watch episodes with their families. It’s a great way to bring families together.

6) Encourage your students to take the TCT self-guided-video-based class:

    ▪ Here is a video from our Host, Alex, explaining the Class.  

    ▪ Estimated time to complete – 45 minutes.  

    ▪ Here is a link to the Class.  

    ▪ Please note at the end of the Class, the students can add your email so you can get their answers.

The Class helps students think about the following four pillars:

▪ College Location
▪ Type of College
▪ Culture of the College
▪ Majors

7) Engage Parents. Let parents know about The College Tour TV Series.

▪ Sample email: “Parents, if you are looking to help your child with their college search, there is a TV series that can help. It’s called The College Tour. Every episode tells the story of a new college through the voices of current students. You can stream it for free on their website:“.

8) Add The College Tour website and Class into your Google Classroom if you use that tool.

We hope that the above assets and suggestions help you with student engagement.  At the college tour we believe strongly in the power of higher education.  We hope we can help do our part in helping your students continue their journey.

We know that getting a teenager to focus on college research can be challenging, which is why we decided to speak their language – using videos and peers – to get the job done!

With The College Tour, young people can tune in and gain real-life college perspectives directly from actual students on campus. These videos are the perfect tool for capturing their attention and helping them better understand what to look for in a college. It delivers the information to them in exactly the way they like to absorb content.

Now that you’ve piqued their interest, here are 4 ways to keep them engaged during their research.

  1. Share this list of all the colleges featured in The College Tour TV series with your child. In this spreadsheet there is a tab to search by TV SEASON or you can search by STATE.  There are over 110 episodes on colleges across 36 states. Each week more are added. We have episodes on big state Universities, small private Colleges, Community Colleges, HBCUs, Christian Colleges and even episodes in Spanish language. 

2. Watch The College Tour episodes as a family. For example, make Sunday night “College Night,” and watch 2-3 episodes together. Afterward, discuss what you all learned. Even if your child isn’t interested in attending the college featured in the episode, you will still gain valuable insights. You can watch episodes on our website or directly on Amazon Prime.

3. Encourage your child to take the TCT self-guided-video-based class.  It’s also great for you to take it as well.

  • Here is a video from our Host Alex explaining the class.
  • Estimated time to complete – 45 minutes.
  • Here is a link to the class.
  • The Class helps students think and learn about the following four pillars:
    • College Location
    • College Type
    • Culture of the College
    • Majors

  1. Encourage the Counselor in your child’s high school to add The College Tour into their toolkit. This way, other students and parents can use this valuable resource to help find the right school.

We are hopeful that the resources and suggestions provided above will assist your child in embarking on this exciting new chapter in life. Here at The College Tour, we strongly believe in the transformative power of higher education and are committed to supporting your family throughout this incredible journey.

Tips for Bonding With Your Teen the Summer Before College

By Rebecca Guez

The summer before your teen leaves for college can feel bittersweet. You are excited for them and also want to make the most of the time before they go off. They are almost adults; they’re managing their own time, making their own plans and have their own busy social lives. The importance of this summer may feel not only like a last hurrah but, it is also the last memories that your teen will have with you before they go off into that bridge between home and the professional world, that is college. Here are 4 tips to make the most of it.

First and foremost, remember that just because your child is going off to college does not mean that your job as a parent is over. Your teen may make it seem like they don’t need you anymore, but believe me they do! Don’t make jokes about empty nesting or how you can’t wait until you have some quiet around the house. In fact, as teens get older they begin to realize more and more just how valuable you are to them, so while your role may evolve; continue to be there for them in any way that you can.

Over the summer, make a point to have the same conversation a few times where you spell that out for them. “I want you to know that I see you are an adult. I see that there are so many things you can do on your own. You are capable, strong, independent, smart and mature. All those things can be true, AND I want you to know that still, I am here for you. Everyone needs help and support, no matter what their age is. And no matter where you are or what you do, I am your parent, I am still always here for you.” It doesn’t have to be a formal sit down conversation, in fact the more relaxed, in the moment the better. You can say it while you’re driving in the car together, before bed, or in the morning over breakfast. Just make sure to say it.

Use the summer to continue to show up for them, both physically and emotionally. Don’t let your mind trick you into thinking that you’re done. Continue to be and act as a parent. Your child will feel safer because of it.

Second, find things to do with them that allow you to connect with eachother. Connection is everything, it is what keeps you bonded, close and open with eachother. When your now-teen was younger you knew the importance of making time for them; throwing a ball, playing a game, drawing or reading with them. It may seem less important now that your child is older, and harder to find the time or the thing to do to connect over. Your teen may not ask for it like they used to beg for it when they were younger. However, making the time and finding those ways to connect is just as important, it just may look different.

Make the time and find a point of connection, even if it’s doing something you don’t necessarily enjoy. Be there, be present and smile through it anyway. Go for walks, the beach, cook, or even watch tiktok or play video games with them. The more you bond before they go away, the deeper the connection you will have with each other will be, and the more they will want to keep connecting with you while they are at college.

Third, show them that they are, and will always be safe with you. Remember how when your now teen was a toddler and they would get hurt and a hug and kiss would make it better? It didn’t make it better because it took away the physical pain. It made it better because your child felt your love, presence, care, and connection. Those sweet moments made them feel safe. While your teen may be going through more than what a hug and kiss can heal, you can still create those safe moments by listening deeply to what they have to say, choosing empathy and listening without judgment. This can be really, really hard to do especially with teenagers. Oftentimes you may find that your opinions differ tremendously. You can see the mistakes your child is making and you want to save them from them. However, our opinions and judgements of their behavior and actions are often what lead to the biggest power struggles and fights between parents and teens.

The summer before college is not the time to discipline, at this point your teen is who they are, for now. Don’t try to change or fix them. Don’t come down hard on them. Be gentle and thoughtful. Listen when they speak, don’t offer too many opinions and try not to judge situations. Don’t hold the fact that they are going away, or that they better learn how to do this or that, be responsible, and trustworthy over their heads. This will all just make them doubt themselves more and get more annoyed at you.

Simply speaking, when they talk ask them if they want your opinion and if they don’t, don’t offer it. Rather than evaluate what they say, get curious and ask them more questions about their opinions. And if that’s hard for you to do, just be quiet and listen when they talk. Soon, your teenager is not going to be in close physical proximity to you. Be someone you would want to keep in touch with.

Fourth, take the summer to lean into your feelings and your teens feelings. Honoring them, being open about them, talking about them. The coming year may bring with it emotions they hadn’t experienced before, or maybe they will be intensified by a new environment, more schoolwork, making new friends, or being on their own. Your own emotions may be intensified with the looming big change your family will experience. Be sensitive and aware that those feelings can heighten the environment, and make everyone more reactive and on edge. Name it, call it out and talk about it. Make sure your teen goes off to college knowing how to recognize that when they are having an uncomfortable experience they’re having a big feeling. Help them learn to name their feelings so they can understand that that discomfort is just that, a feeling. Their feelings don’t define them and they are not their feelings. Feelings are important to pay attention to but not to surrender all of our power to and allow them to overwhelm them. They mean something BUT they don’t define who your teen is. For example, just because they walk into a big hall of students and they feel anxiety doesn’t mean there’s any real threat or that they can’t handle it. It doesn’t make them anxious, it means they are feeling anxious, which is quite a normal response.

It might feel lonely in a new place until they make friends, but that doesn’t mean they will be alone forever or that there is anything wrong with them. In a new place with new people you don’t yet know, it would be expected to feel lonely.

Remember, just because your teen is venturing out into the world beyond your home and community doesn’t mean they don’t need you. It is just the beginning of the next chapter of your parenting journey. Stay connected, curious, open and continue to be their safe space. They will thank you for it and you will reap the rewards of a beautiful summer and relationship with your teen.

What Does My Student Really Need to Take to College?

By Liz Yokubison

Raising twins is by nature a lesson in psychology. And the way my son and daughter prepared for what to take to college was no exception. My daughter poured over websites searching for the perfect comforter, created a Pinterest-worthy photo collage and took me on endless shopping trips to Target and The Container Store. She slowly accumulated an arsenal of dorm room décor and supplies.

Her twin brother, on the other hand, wandered into the guest room, which was temporarily storing my daughter’s stash, and wondered aloud if he needed as much stuff. I assured him that he did not. Instead, he chose to order the “dorm room essentials” package from his university’s bookstore and called it good. So, what is the answer to the age-old question, what does my student really need to take to college? Somewhere in between the two extremes just described.

Must-Have Things to Take to College

Most universities offer incoming freshmen the option of purchasing a package from the on-campus bookstore that includes sheets, towels, a comforter, and pillow. The bare necessities of outfitting a dorm room. This can be handy for out-of-state students, who simply walk over to the bookstore and pick up their linens. Our son chose this option since he was attending college on the other side of the country and packed everything he was taking with him into a few airline-checked duffle bags.

One downside of this approach is that your student won’t have the chance to wash the sheets before they make the bed in their dorm room. Possibly for the only time all year. And if parents think they’ll be able to convince their student to run a load in the dormitory washer and dryer on move-in day, I can assure you that will not be the case.

Even if your student chooses to take advantage of this option, you will still need to plan to pick up a few more “must-have” items. These include a light blanket, since many college dorm rooms don’t have air conditioning and a comforter will be far too warm in the dog days of summer when classes begin. Similarly, a fan to circulate cool air is also a necessity, but you will need to figure out what type of windows your student’s room has before purchasing. For example, a box fan won’t work in windows that only open inward.

Other necessary items include a shower caddy and shower shoes for shared bathrooms, and storage containers to maximize closet or under bed space. And since thousands of students will be descending on campus during move-in weekend, it’s best to take advantage of online ordering that allows you to order in advance and pick up your supplies in the store before everything has been picked over.

If your student doesn’t already have their own laptop, many campuses allow special deals for incoming students who purchase their computer on-campus. The added benefit of this strategy is that if anything happens to the computer during the time your student is enrolled, IT service is included in the price.

An often forgotten but entirely necessary item your student needs to take to college is a mattress topper. After criticizing his sister’s overzealous shopping habits, our son insisted he didn’t need a mattress topper. But, after a poor night’s sleep on a thin, plastic wrapped mattress, he ordered one the very next day.

Last, but not least, make sure your student packs a variety of clothes for multiple seasons including snow boots and coats if they are attending college in a northern climate or plenty of waterproof gear if their university is in the Pacific Northwest.

Nice-to-Have Things to Take to College

If your student has a specific vision for their dorm room, or if they’re feeling uneasy about moving away from home, spending a little extra time and money to make their dorm look less utilitarian is worth it. Our daughter purchased a rug and bean bag chair to provide extra seating and make her dorm room feel cozier. Both items now decorate her post-college apartment. Other ideas include fun pillows or fuzzy throws to make their bed feel less sterile and more inviting.

Bringing a few pictures from home for their desk or walls can make even the sparsest dorm room more appealing. After my daughter printed out a swath of photos for a collage above her desk, my son followed suit, but with a more minimalist approach. A photo of he and his sister, our dog, the four of us, and a few of his high school buddies was the extent of it, just enough to remind him of home.

Depending on your student’s major/classes, a printer can also be a useful, albeit costly item to take to college. While most dormitories offer printers in common rooms, my daughter discovered that with her course load, she needed easier and more frequent access to a printer than one five floors below. However, given the expense, it’s best to wait until your student is well into their first semester to decide if a printer is a true necessity.

Often forgotten, but other helpful things to take to college include a plate and silverware to heat up takeout from the dining hall or local restaurants in a school-provided microwave (see below.) And again, any extra storage in the form of shelves and plastic bins is helpful to store everything from extra linens to dorm room snacks.

Not Necessary to Take to College

One thing we learned the hard way was to rent a combination refrigerator and microwave from the university your student is attending. Why? Because otherwise you will be stuck with a small appliance that nobody wants to buy when your student moves out of the dormitory.

My son and his roommate rented a fridge/microwave ensemble that was compact and already in their dorm room when they moved in. If they had purchased their own appliances, I’m not sure where they would have fit in their shoebox of a room. Plus, the rental cost was reasonable and both appliances arrived in clean, working order.

Regardless of whether your college student chooses to take enough things to college that you need to rent a U-Haul or Suburban, or goes with the more minimalistic approach, rest assured there will be one or two things that they end up realizing they just can’t live without. And the best part? That means they will have to call or text you to ask for help, giving you a little glimpse into this new chapter of their life.

Hey Moms, the TCT Class is in Session!

By Samantha Jonas-Hain

Congratulations, moms! You have made it to parenting Level 3, otherwise known as the teen years. Cute elementary school plays are a thing of the past, middle school meltdowns have hopefully subsided and now you are raising a high schooler who probably thinks they know it all. Next up, the college years, a totally new experience far different from the days of PTA bake sales and putting in teacher requests for your child to be seated far away from the neighborhood bully.

“How did we get here,” is a question we all ask ourselves. Weren’t we just teaching them to tie their shoelaces? Whether or not we are ready for it, is beside the point. College is just around the corner and now is the time to educate ourselves so we can ultimately help them make smart decisions when it comes to their future. With so many types of colleges, the starting point is extremely overwhelming, which is why the TCT Class is you going to be your new best friend! It is an incredible tool that helps to put the entire college landscape in perspective, while decompartmentalizing it into categories that help to make this daunting task seem super easy.

Before even approaching the subject of higher education with your teen, I suggest you do a TCTC Class session for yourself. It will serve as a great foundation for learning what critical elements to have your child look for in a modern-day school. Rather than coming to them with outdated knowledge from your college days (you know, from the ancient times when people had to use archaic things like payphones and VCRs), brush up on what college looks like nowadays. For parents who never went to college, the TCT Class is like the ultimate Cliffs Notes on what matters most in higher education. You will be amazed at how many wonderful resources are currently being offered by colleges all over the country, including exciting new career opportunities that didn’t exist back when we were making professional decisions.

To really get the most out of the TCT Class, watch each video and answer the questions not from the perspective of what you think your teen would say, but from your very own. By examining yourself critically, you will be able to really understand the benefit of how the TCT Class articulates key priorities. Use yourself as the case study and see what types of categories stick out to you. Are you motivated by clubs and school spirit or are you looking for something that honors your heritage? Do you want to have access to a big city or are you someone who will feel more comfortable in a quant area away from it all? These questions will help paint a picture of what life could look like on campus.

Now that you are thinking like a prospective student as a pose to just a worried mom who is anticipating separation anxiety, here are some additional tips on how to use the TCT Class so you can confidently walk away with an A+ in navigating college life in the year 2022.


Don’t just watch videos pertaining to what you already know about. Click on videos in subject matters that may seem a bit out of your comfort zone. You might be really surprised at how interesting you find aerospace, hospitality and tourism or even forensics. With the TCT Class you have the amazing opportunity to get access to areas that you may never have had the opportunity to before. Take advantage of it and really use your session as a chance to think beyond what you already know.


Well, not just clubs but all activities. Campus culture comes in many forms. From Division 1 and Division 2 sports to military friendly colleges, and schools with a study abroad program, colleges today have so much to offer outside the classroom. Watch some videos and get familiar with some of the great ways students can connect to their school and community beyond academics. College is a completely immersive experience, where all aspects of the student can be nurtured. Figure out what excites you most and factor that in to your decision making process.


Nobody here is judging you. So many times in the college search people say what they think is “right” rather than what they truly believe. The anonymous aspect of TCT Class gives you the opportunity to examine yourself in a safe and effective way. This is a time to get to know you and answer some important questions free from bias or other people’s opinions. It’s extremely liberating and eye opening and will give you an understanding of yourself that you may not have had prior.

Once you have finished the TCT Class, feel free to take it again and again. This is a place to learn, grow and explore. All the information you are learning about college and yourself will be invaluable in helping your child navigate the world of higher education. Just one last tip; have fun! This isn’t meant to be painful. College is an exciting chapter in life and while academics, clubs, sports etc. matter, so does your child’s mental health and happiness. Focus less about the pressures of school and more on the fantastic world of possibilities that is about to come there way.