Visiting colleges is a great way to get a feel for what college is like. And when the time comes, it can help you decide if a specific college is right for you. Here are some tips to get the best out of your campus visit.

Arrange a visit

All colleges have admission offices that can help you plan your visit. Your high school may organize group tours of nearby colleges. And you can plan your own informal visit to a college campus.

Take these important first steps:

Contact the college admission office through the college’s website, or by email or phone to get details and make a reservation.

Talk to your counselor about joining an organized tour of campuses you might not get to visit otherwise.

Schedule time to be on your own. Walk around the public areas of the college and don’t be shy about asking students questions.

What to expect

Campus visits can range from a quick hour to an overnight stay, from a casual guided tour to a formal presentation. Be sure to ask how long the whole visit will take so you can be prepared. Most campus visits will include the following:

An information session. An admission representative talks to you or your group about the college before the campus tour.

A campus tour. These are usually led by current students. You’ll see the main parts of the campus and have a chance to ask questions from student’s perspectives.

At many colleges, you can also

arrange to do the following:

Attend a class.

Meet with a professor.

Meet with an admission officer.

Meet with a financial aid officer.

Attend a club meeting or a sports practice session.

Eat in the dining hall.

Spend the night in a dorm.

Before your visit, you should

get prepared:

Explore the college’s official website and review any materials the college has sent you. This will help you come up with questions specific to that college.

Make a list of questions to ask staff and students. You can use the Campus Visit Checklist as a starting point.

Get a map of the college campus and check where the admission office is. This will help ensure you’re on time for your visit.

When you’re ready to go, remember to pack a notebook and a camera so you can record your impressions. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to forget details after you’ve seen a few colleges. — (NAPS)

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