If you are considering a career in cosmetology or any other beauty trade, it is a good idea to compare and tour several different beauty schools before applying and making a decision about where to attend. Beauty schools vary in their programs, facilities, teaching methods and cost, so touring a school can provide you with a great deal of information that can be critical to making the right decision for you.
Making an Appointment to Tour a School
Most schools prefer that you make an appointment in advance to tour their campus, rather than simply showing up to look around. Though some schools are perfectly ok with walk-ins. Usually, appointments are made through the admissions office. You can search for schools using the button below, then Request Information from the ones that interest you. Their admissions representatives will then call and answer your initial questions, at which time you can ask for an admissions packet and schedule an appointment to visit the campus.
Admissions packets provide you with the basic important information about the school. Frequently, these packets include information about school accreditation, admission requirements and current tuition rates. It often lists the courses that you will take in each program they offer, and the hours or credits each course will earn you toward meeting the state’s minimum to get licensed. Additionally, there may be information about financial aid programs or options.
Before attending your appointment, it is a good idea to prepare your questions for the school. For example, you may want to ask questions about course requirements and schedules, the student population and career placement services. If you need a little inspiration on what to ask, check out our list of 15 Questions You Should Ask Each Admissions Rep.
Taking a Tour
Campus tours are an important part of making a decision for any higher education, whether a traditional 4-year university, community college, trade school or a specific beauty school. A campus tour can provide you with an opportunity to talk to current students, see the training facilities for yourself, and watch the educators and trainers in action.
Usually, the tour is conducted by a representative from the admissions staff. In some cases, campus tours are given as a group with other potential students. However, some schools offer campus tours on an individual basis if you schedule a one-on-one appointment.
When you tour the beauty schools you're considering, look at the classrooms and the student salon floor. It is important that the facilities be well maintained and in good repair, and that you feel you will be working with modern supplies and technology. They should also be clean and sanitary on the premises, and all equipment, such as scissors and combs, should be sterilized where appropriate.
As you are going through the cosmetology school, also take note of the students. Look for students that appear to be enjoying their classes and engaged. Students should be comfortable asking questions or getting guidance from their instructors. Does this seem like an environment where you would be comfortable learning from the instructors and teaming up with your classmates on various projects?
Another consideration when taking a beauty school tour is the proximity and accessibility of the campus. Look at where the school is located geographically. Make note of how far it is from your home and what kinds of public transportation services are easily accessible. For example, if you regularly rely on bus lines or the subway, these lines should be relatively close to the campus. Or if you will be driving a car, look for parking availability, and consider how close the campus is to your home or job. The campus should be located in a safe area and campus security is an important consideration. You may even wish to ask about how easily accessible doors are for students and if there are any security protocols for emergency situations.
For students with disability concerns, it is important to evaluate accessibility. Find out if there are easily wheelchair accessible outside doors, and if doors are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or other aid. For students who need special assistance with classroom instruction, it is important to know if it is available well before deciding to attend a program.
Evaluating Potential Programs
Not all instructors are created equal, and this is especially true when it comes to post-secondary schools. While all instructors are required to go through additional higher education or junior instructor training before teaching at beauty schools, some instructors will be a better fit for your learning style than others. Good instructors will engage students in a variety of ways as part of their classroom experience. A campus tour should provide you with the opportunity to see instructors at work in the classroom. Also, you should be able to see the students interacting with instructors in the on-campus student salon.
It is important to also ask to view current program curriculums or outlines. These will give you a good idea of what kinds of assignments and reading materials will be required, and whether the program matches up with your expectations and goals. They can also provide you with examples of the pace of instruction for that particular beauty school.
Another area that is important to evaluate is curriculum schedules. Some schools allow students to schedule their own classes or attendance times around work or family life. This can be very helpful if you need flexibility in your schedule, especially if the school offers night and weekend classes in addition to their normal daytime classroom hours. However, other schools have preset class schedules that are not movable. In this case, students who enroll at the school are part of a cohort and they complete all of their classes together. Additionally, it is important to find out what time of day classes are offered and their attendance or absentee policy so you can plan accordingly.
Another important aspect to evaluate is the program curriculum. First, make sure the school offers the correct program you’re interested, such as comprehensive cosmetology, nail technology, esthetics and skin care, etc. Often, beauty schools focus on specific products and application theories. For example, some beauty schools are affiliated with Vidal Sassoon and others are affiliated with Aveda, Redken or other beauty product lines. Often, a school’s application brochure will outline their philosophy and/or program affiliations.
Licensure and Job Placement
One of the most important aspects of a beauty school that should be considered is how well the program will prepare a student for licensing. All states have licensing requirements that must be met before they can begin practicing and earning an income from their training. Make sure you leave your beauty school tour feeling confident that the school can meet or exceed those requirements with their program and campus facilities.
Often, licensing preparation information will be available in admission brochures and marketing materials that you pick up on your tour. However, it is also important to be able to talk to former students during your campus visit to find out how well the program prepared them for licensing examinations. For example, you need to know how long after completing classroom instruction was test preparation assistance available, if at all. It also may be helpful to know if preparation was done as a group or if it was provided one-on-one.
Finally, job placement services are also sometimes available and a great bonus to have at the school you choose, but not necessarily required. Find out if the school you are considering provides assistance to students in getting their first placement and if those services are available for a period of time after graduation. Additionally, if you are considering a beauty school that is part of a nationwide network, find out if job placement services available throughout their network nationwide if you plan on moving after graduation, or only in the geographical area where you completed your program.
Making a decision to attend beauty school is life-changing for many people. Take the opportunity to tour several schools in your area to get a clear idea of your options and find a program that will meet your needs well. In addition to evaluating the facilities, it is also important to take into consideration the overall program, including class availability, exam preparation and job placement. If you do your research in advance of making a decision, you will likely be much happier and satisfied with your choice in the long run.