Thousands of students will tour private colleges in the state this week during the annual “Iowa Private College Week.” Kathleen Gannon is the spokesperson for the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Gannon says this is a great opportunity for students to compare private colleges with their family and make educated choices. Gannon says the program, which began six years ago, is a week long opportunity for students to tour private colleges. Thirty-one schools are involved in the event — each campus conducts tours and offers free information for prospective students and their families. The tours are basic — just giving an overview of the school — so kids have time to go two different colleges a day. Students who visit three or more schools throughout the week are eligible to have their application fees waived when applying to attend a private school in Iowa. Gannon says private colleges have many benefits. Gannon says private colleges offer personalized attention through one-on-one relationships with professors. She says because college is expensive, private colleges have more professors available to steer students in the right direction earlier in their academic career. And Gannon says kids are getting started looking into college earlier. She says the first year the students who took the tours were mostly high school seniors — now she says there are many juniors and even sophomores that attend. Gannon say this year there has been a lot of word of mouth about the Iowa Private College week and many families who attended last year will be back again this year as students get older. Gannon says they had over five thousand visits during the week last year. For more information about Iowa Private College Week check out the website at