There's nothing quite like the feeling of stepping onto a college campus for the first time during a campus visit. The campus visit is an incredibly important and enjoyable part of the college application process and one that should be taken seriously.
The insight gleaned from a campus visit can be more beneficial to a prospective student than any recruitment packet or website can provide. A visit to a college campus can give you a firsthand look at college life and help you decide what is most important to you.
If you're planning on making a trip in the near future, we've developed a series of tips to help you get the most out of your college visit:
Start your visit off on the right foot by coming prepared with questions that will allow you to assess the academic and social programs available on campus. Doing research prior to your trip will help you hone in on what interests you, allowing you to spend more time focusing on the things that matter. If you have questions regarding tuition or classes available, student organizations or Greek life, don't be afraid to schedule a meeting with a staff member who can answer your questions and speak to you in depth.
The Office of Admissions is knowledgeable about all facets of life at each institution. You'll do yourself a favor by working with that team to schedule a guided tour with one of the campus ambassadors. Moreover, making contacts in the admissions office will be helpful when you are going through the application process, as they are a go-to resource for questions or recommendations.
If you want to see what college life is really like, schedule a visit while school is in session, away from major events or holidays. Once there, sit in on a class pertaining to your desired major, eat lunch in the dining hall, and make a point to talk with students, faculty, and staff who will have a different perspective of the school from your tour guide. An added tip is to schedule a trip close to a home game. The admissions office will often be able to provide you and your family with tickets to cheer on the team.
Don't just experience the campus; experience the town that you may call home for four years. Visit local attractions and talk with residents about their recommendations for things to do. Your admissions office may have special rates with hotels nearby, so be sure to let them know your plans ahead of time.
College visits can provide a wealth of information, but they can also be overwhelming. If you take a few moments after each visit to jot down your thoughts, it will help you when it comes time to discuss your options with your parents or a school counselor.
Life on a college campus will be busy, busy, busy. If you don't love the dorms or you thought the food in the dining hall left much to be desired, don't rule out that school just yet. There are pros and cons to every institution, and it's important to remember that you'll be spending most of your time in class, leading a student organization, or making friends.