Why You Should Schedule College Visits (and How to Make the Most of Them)
When It Comes Time To Narrow Down The College Search, Students Should Begin Visiting Colleges...
Visiting a college’s campus during your search allows you to get a feel for what a college is really like. College visits are the perfect time to get your questions answered by on-campus experts, and this information can prove invaluable when it comes time to make your college decision.
What You’ll Find In This Article
- Why Bother with College Visits?
- How to Prepare for College Visits
- Your College Tour Checklist
- Enjoying Your College Visits
Why Bother With College Visits?
College visits are a significant step in the college application process. Not only does setting foot on a college campus send “this is really happening, I’m going to college” signals to your brain, it also allows you to briefly experience what each college you visit is like. This is why college visits are an important step in choosing the right school for you, as there’s only so much that can be conveyed through pamphlets and websites.
Students who take college tours also show admissions officers that they’re serious about their future at each school. This is why it’s important to make an effort to visit any college that you’re seriously considering, even if it’s one of your reach schools.
As you visit more colleges and compare your experiences at each, you’ll gain a clearer understanding of which college is the right choice for you.
There are many things about a college that you can only discover by visiting their campus and spending time with students who already attend the school. Official tours and school websites will often gloss over details like poor student parking or limited cafeteria options. Seeing the campus for yourself allows you investigate beyond a school’s marketing efforts.
How To Prepare For College Visits
Students should begin preparing for their college visits by making a list of each school they would like to visit. Students should try to plan their visits during a time when the colleges will be in session - late fall into early winter is a good time for college tours, as students begin to narrow their college search. Pick a non-Friday school day to avoid your tour happening in the middle of social or large sporting events.
Planning a road trip to visit several colleges in one trip may be an efficient way for students to get a feel for each school they’re interested in.
Note: Students should check with each school they plan on visiting to see if they require students to schedule tours. A tour of the college and its campus provided by a knowledgeable guide is one of the essential components of any good college visit, so students should make sure they schedule a tour if possible.
To get the most out of a college tour, it’s important for students to come prepared. While you don’t need to know every aspect about every college you visit, taking a virtual tour and reading through a college’s website before you head to their campus are good ways to become acquainted with each school beforehand.
Make a list of all the areas on campus you want to visit, and try to see as many of them as possible during your visit. Do your best to find places to explore outside of the campus’ main attractions as well. Pay special attention to areas of interest surrounding your intended major, as you can often find a lot of useful information from the staff and students in these buildings.
Your College Tour Checklist
Visiting a college campus for the first time can make for an exciting day on it’s own, but it’s important for students to make the most of their visit.
Taking the time to prepare before showing up means students will know where to go to learn more than what’s shown during the official tour. After you’ve taken a look through a college’s website and made your own notes about what you’d like to see, refer to our checklist to keep yourself from missing anything a college visit can offer you.
First, students should sign in at the college’s admissions office. Introduce yourself and talk to the admissions officers about aspects of the school that interest you. They’ll be able to guide you toward the right people and places on campus to answer your questions and satisfy your curiosity.
When you’re on your official college tour, don’t be afraid to be engaged and ask questions when appropriate.
Most college tours offer a walk through the dorms and will allow you to look at a “showroom” dorm. Some colleges will even allow students to sit in on a class to get a feel for what it’s like. Ambitious students should take every opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a student at the college.
Your college tour guide will also be able to offer answers to many of your questions. Some basic college tour questions cover topics such as transportation, class options, average class sizes, and student resources. Even if your guide can’t answer your questions, they’ll be able to point you toward the people that can.
LATER IN THE DAY
After your college tour, take some time to walk around campus and explore what the school has to offer. Talk to students about the school - most won’t be afraid to show their pride or list their grievances. Take a look around the building that houses your intended major, and talk to professors if you have the opportunity.
Explore the campus just like you would on the first day of school.
Pick up a copy of the school’s newspaper and take a peek into the first year dorm hall if you can. It doesn’t hurt to take a look around the main cafeteria and gathering areas before you leave.
Of course, be sure to thank the admissions office for hosting you either in person or through a follow up email. If you have the time, take a drive around the campus and the surrounding area. Note your options for food, entertainment, and shopping around each college campus you visit.
ONCE YOUR VISIT IS OVER
You should always send a follow up email to the admissions office, thanking them for their time and asking any of your unanswered questions. This is just another step students can take to show they’re serious about the college.
The most important thing for students to do after visiting a college is to consider if this college is right for them. Did the campus feel like a place where you could achieve your academic goals? Does the student culture on campus align with what you need to thrive? What about the facilities and resources?
There are many questions that need answers when it comes to narrowing down your college search, and a college visit is one of the best ways to get those answers. Don’t be afraid to listen to your gut if a school seems off; likewise, don’t be afraid of schools that seem like an immediate perfect fit. Weigh your experiences during each college visit alongside everything a college has to offer to help you make your final choice.
IN SUMMARY: YOUR COLLEGE VISIT CHECKLIST
- Schedule your initial college visit when class is in session.
- Upon arrival, sign in and introduce yourself at the admissions office.
- Be engaged and ask questions while you take the official college tour.
- Take a look around the dorms, cafeteria, and major gathering places.
- Talk to current students about what they love (and don't love) about the school.
- If possible, sit in on a lecture and meet professors in your intended major.
- Send a follow up email to the admissions office, thanking them for their time.
The most important thing to remember during your college visit is that you’re there to take a sneak peek into the life of a student. A good college tour will have moments of seriousness and fun, just like a real college experience.
Do your best to relax, have a good time, and learn as much about each school as you can!
Enjoying Your College Visits
Visiting a college is a new and exciting experience for many students, and college tours are a great way to learn more about colleges you’re interested in while also having a good time. However, it’s important that students properly prepare themselves before heading off to campus for their first visit; there’s so much more to explore at each college than what the official tours will cover.
While you may be tempted to visit every college you can, it’s important that students narrow their college search down to a focused list to make the process manageable. WeAdmit counselors know the ups and downs of the college admissions process, and they can help you figure out which colleges are worth a visit or not. If you’re ready to take the next step on your quest to go to college, we hope you’ll get in touch! For now...
...Let’s Schedule Some College Tours And Get Into College!
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