Visiting campuses to help narrow down one’s choice is a great way to get a feel for the college or university. 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. Another alternative is planning your own informal visit to a campus.
Take these important first steps
Contact the admission office by phone or through the Internet, such as via the college’s website, to get details and make a reservation.
Talk to your counselor about the availability of organized campus trips to tour colleges that 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 and 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 where an admission representative talks to you or your group about the college before the campus tour.
A campus tour, usually led by current students. You’ll see the main parts of the campus and have an opportunity to ask questions and get a student’s perspective.
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.
Attend 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 and locate the admission office. This will ensure you’re on time for any scheduled session and are familiar with the campus.
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)