College tours are crucial when choosing where your child will spend the arguably most important four years of their life.
Travel by car to potential colleges allows parents and soon-to-be graduates to schedule stops at several campuses on the same road trip, which can often take a week or longer. Upscale travelers, however, may prefer to minimize their travel time by chartering a luxury private jet.
Fees for renting a jet for college campus visits can exceed $60,000, but for many families, the benefits outweigh the cost since these private trips can be more efficient than a traditional college tour.
According to Abby Siegel, a New York college entrance consultant, who often accompanies families on tours. “As a neutral party, I can be extremely helpful. If it comes out of my mouth, the children will listen, where they might not listen to their parents.”
Some private tour services offer transport to various college hubs, such as, Atlanta, Boston, Miami, New York, and Washington, which also includes stays at luxury hotels. The package can cost $30,000 per trip, though bundling services is less expensive than the individual costs of the flight, hotel, and counseling.
“We can help them maximize their time, see the place, meet the admissions team and get a feel for the environment,” said James Henderson, president of commercial operations at XOJet, a charter company. “You can literally be wheels up in 15 minutes,” he said.
James Henderson, president of commercial operations at XOJet, agrees. “We can help them maximize their time, see the place, meet the admissions team, and get a feel for the environment.”
The company, which has partnered Mandarin Oriental hotels, sees the benefits as obvious.
According to Jan D. Goessing, executive vice president for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group in the Americas, “We saw families checking into our hotels on college tours, and we were serving them on a one-off basis. That drove us to connect the dots and say there’s a need. We can facilitate and provide a comprehensive one-stop shop, so to speak, in regards to college search.”
Other companies offer a different cost structure. a luxury private jet provides college tour packages with 10 hours of flight time for $57,000. The company works with Top Tier Admissions, a college advisory firm, which supplies an admissions expert for the trip at an additional fee.
“This gets them to two to three colleges in a day, and in three to four days, they can look at all these colleges around the country,” said Joshua Hebert, the chief executive of Magellan Jets.
En route, students are briefed on each college, and after each tour, the students record their thoughts which the company binds in a book at the end of the trip.
“The college application process is stressful,” Hebert said, “and we’re focused on helping them maximize their time and get from A to B as quickly as possible.”
Mimi Doe, a co-founder of Top Tier Admissions, who works with Magellan, said they wanted to streamline the college admissions process for private jet students.
“We’re providing tips on how to make the most of your college visit,” Doe said.
Once students are admitted, private jet companies also provide moving services, allowing students to carry extra luggage.
“This seemed natural to us since we already serve this demographic,” Doe said. “Why not maximize the time they have? How do you make the most of that visit? Cut to the chase.”