10 TIPS FOR COLLEGE VISITS … THE EXPANDED VERSION
One of the best ways to learn more about colleges is to visit their campuses. Here is the expanded version of tips for making the most of each visit:
1 – Learn about the college before you visit. Read materials from the college and check out their website. Request to receive their online newsletter. Follow their social media accounts (there will be several options!). If you are visiting more than one college on a particular day, refresh your memory about that school just before you arrive. Be sure to spend at least a half day at each college.
2 – Evaluate the environment of the campus. Is the campus too big or too small for you? Do you like the nearby town or do you feel isolated? Consider how you would get around campus – particularly in the rain or snow.
3 – Visit the admissions office & participate in the information session. Ask questions that help you clarify the academic program at the school and the type of student who is most comfortable and successful there. You may choose to have a formal interview with an admissions staff member. Bring a resume of your grades and activities. Dress nicely, but not out of character.
4 – Take the student-led tour of campus. Take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions about campus life from a peer. Recognize, however, that tour guides are not necessarily typical of all students since they are often paid to formally represent the school.
5 – Check out the dorms. Find out about the available dorm options, such as all-freshman or co-ed floors. Arrange in advance to spend the night in a dorm room, if possible. Picture yourself living in a dorm. Are you comfortable with where it is located on campus, such as proximity to classes or the student center?
6 – Arrange for campus meetings with department heads in the subject that interests you the most. Also meet with coaches in sports where you excel, as well as former graduates from your high school. Play an instrument? Plan to meet with the band or orchestra director. Bring a resume that highlights your experience in your area of expertise. Ask about opportunities based on your skills and interests. Write down the names of any officials you meet with and send personal thank-you notes when you return home.
7 – Sit in on classes & check out the library. How is the rapport between students and faculty in the classroom? Look through the books and explore the technology available at the library. Look for quiet places to study.
8 – Look into life beyond academics. Check out the athletic facilities, theater, and student center. Read the notices posted in the dorms or on bulletin boards. Can you see yourself joining in?
9 – Eat lunch in the student center & watch student interactions. Talk with students all over campus about their impressions of the school. Look at the students themselves. Do you feel comfortable among them?
10 – Write down your impressions of each college you visit. After a while, the visions of different schools start to blur if you don’t immediately stop to record your thoughts. Keep a list of pros and cons for comparison. Also consider taking some photos to help you keep track of the campuses you visit.
Post-COVID, many campuses are now offering in-person campus visits again. If need help finding colleges to visit or making tour arrangements at a particular school, let me know. I would love to help. Sharing my personal experience visiting college campuses is just one of the ways my work with SCOUT helps familiies navigate the college admissions process. To find out more, join me at https://scoutcollegeconsulting.com/.
Hope to connect with you soon!