The campus visit is a really big deal, because it is most likely going to be the most influential part your college selection process. The way the campus visit makes you feel, the people that you meet, and the more you can visualize yourself on campus will all play a role in the connection you develop with the university. Below we will explore the things you should do to prepare for the visit and things to consider while on your college tour.
When planning your college visits keep these 5 things in mind:
- Seriously consider the school
- College visits can be fun, but you don’t want to take visits to schools that you are not seriously considering. It is okay to visit a school that you are open to, but you should narrow your list to 3-5 universities.
- Know where the school is located.
- It is not just about knowing the school’s city/state, but do you know how far the school is from transportation (local bus, the highway, the bus station, or the airport). Does the school make the city? When school is not in session, the town does not have a lot of life. Do you have liberal ideals, but the school is in a very conservative community? Are you a city person in the middle of a rural community?
- Special characteristics.
- What attracted you to the community? Is there a major that is only offered at the school? Do they offer intramural sports? Do they provide support to students in the form of a resource center, student organizations, or staffing?
- Consider the season
- Keep in mind the time of year you are visiting. The campus will look different during the summer versus during the school year. The weather can have a major effect on the campus visit. If it is raining or snowing you will not see much student activity on the quad.
- Number of people in attendance
- Take family and friends that will remain objective and provide additional insight. Taking your 5-year-old sister may not be able to assist you in the process. You may also not want to take an entourage of 10 people. Ask 1-2 people that will add value to the experience and allow them to be your sounding board. Â
What to expect while on your visit:
- Expect to do lots of walking. Your tour will consist of a lot of walking, as your tour guide will take you to see the very best of the campus. You will see the admissions office, residence halls, dining halls, and of course a classroom. There may be other stops along the way like the fitness center, the student union, and the building where many of your classes will be held.
- Meeting with someone from your major.
- Your tour will most likely involve speaking with someone from the department where you will complete many of your classes. Use this time to learn about the history of the department, opportunities for your professional development, and other information about the program, instructions. And course load.
- Interactions with other students.
- On your tour, get face-to-face with as many students as possible. Ask them what they like about the school, what they don’t like about the institution, what they would change, and how their lives have been impacted since attending the school.
- A lot of information.
- The visit will provide a wealth of information and it will probably be a lot to take in. Take notes and attempt to get as much information as possible. Take notes, snap pictures, and gather handouts. You can use all the information you gathered to later review and help in making your decision.
- The best sides of the university.
- You will only be exposed to the best aspects of the campus. It is up to you uncover the bad and the ugly of the university. Do your research, ask questions, and gather as much information as you can.
The college visit is an exciting and scary time. Use this time to get to know the college, its people, and what it has to offer. See if you are a good fit for the university, see if you can envision yourself on the quad, and interacting with the other students. Be sure to prepare a list of questions, address your concerns, and gather as much information as possible. Take the information from each visit and compare finding the right fit for you.