How to Make the Most Out of College Visits
College visits are a vital part of the college search experience. Once you’ve narrowed down your lists of schools that you’d love to attend (Part 1, Part 2), it’s always a good idea to tour the campuses before you commit. There are factors (good and bad) that may not be advertised that you would never know about until you go to the school.
College visits can make or break your decision, so it’s imperative that you go check things out to help you make up your mind. Here are some things you can do to ensure that you make the most out of your college visits.
Plan Your College Visits Early
You should have an idea of which colleges you would like to visit and how you’re going to get there. Your high school may plan group trips to visit college campuses, you could take a trip with friends, or you can bring the whole family along.
Do Your Own Thing
While student- and faculty-led campus tours are informative, by wandering off the path or just touring the grounds on your own terms, you can learn a whole new bundle of information.
Finding students walking around campus and asking them questions is a great way to get candid advice and opinions. Talking to staff and faculty is also a good way to get a feel for how classes and campus life operate.
Explore Academic Departments And School Facilities
You can request to sit in on a lecture to really get an inside look on the program you’re interested in, see if you like the lunches that are provided in the campus cafeteria, ask to tour a dorm room, and hang out in a popular on-campus chill/study spot. No matter where you choose to explore, checking out the campus in depth is a good way to see what the campus culture feels like and whether or not you fit in.
Ask About Campus Safety
Many students spend most of their free time on campus, so it’s important that you feel safe and comfortable while on school grounds. You can ask your tour guide about campus safety policies and what that school does to help make the campus a safe environment.
Most Importantly, Keep Notes!
Whether you tour the campus guided or not, taking notes can help you remember what you did and didn’t like about that particular school. After a few visits, all colleges will start to blend together into a big mush. Your memory will recall brick buildings, landscaping, fountains, trees, and squirrels, but it won’t differentiate much between schools’ unique attributes. Take pictures so you can look back on your trip, and/or Snapchat, comment, and save photos so you can jog your memory.