MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)–During the lazy days of summer, college visits are ususally the last thing on high school students’ mind and the first thing on parents’ minds.

But for one week, however, high school students and their parents can set aside differences and attend bite-sized information sessions at 17 private colleges throughout Minnesota during Minnesota Private Colleges Week (MPCW), June 20-24.

MPCW is put on by the Minnesota Private Colleges Council (MPCC) and is designed to give high school students and parents a sampling of what different private colleges can offer. There are information sessions at each campus from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. as well as 2:00-4:15 p.m. each day, and families can attend as many or as few as they would like.

There is no pressure to decide right away. In fact, the MPCC says quite the opposite. Their website says this week is designed for high school sophomore and juniors who are interested in exploring rather than committing. Students can attend as many sessions as they like and won’t be pressured to follow up on a visit.

Current Minnesota private college student Nick Elfering attended MPCW before deciding on St. John’s University, and says the week was a great way to discern between conflicting options.

“It gave me the opportunity to see many schools in the same week and compare what I liked and didn’t like about each,” he says on the student section of the MN Private College Council website. “Choosing where to invest my money over the next four years was tough; MPCW helped make the choice a little easier.”

Parents also say they appreciate the bite-sized information sessions, which help both narrow down choices and push students to understand what it takes to be admitted to different types of schools. One parent who attended MPCW in 2010 said it pushed their family to start preparing early.

“Our son is going to be a junior next year and we are all so glad that we started this process this year,” she said on the MN Private Colleges website. “ It really showed him what he has to do this next year, especially his grades in certain school subjects and with AP tests. It also gave us a better idea of what we need to do to start preparing.”

The MPCC encompasses 17 private colleges throughout Minnesota, ranging as far northwest as Concordia College in Moorhead and as far southeast as St.Mary’s College in Winona. They also include several niche schools such as all-women (St. Catherine’s University in St.Paul), arts and design (Minneapolis College of Art and Design) and denominational (Bethel University). There are also several location options from the inner city (Augsburg College in Minneapolis) to a small college town (St. Olaf and Carleton College in Northfield).

MPCW is free to attend, but students must register ahead of time at MNPrivateColleges.org/MPCW. There is no overnight housing available and families must provide their own transportation between campuses.

For more information, visit the MPCW website


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