College Visit Tips for StudentsMar 03, 2023
There’s no substitute for visiting a college and spending time on campus to tell you whether a particular college is right for you. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your campus visits.
Talk to students besides the tour guide.
Although it may be tough to strike up a conversation with students on a busy campus, make the effort. Tour guides give you the “official” story of life on campus, but you want to know what it’s really like to go to school there. Two good questions to ask: “If you could do it over, would you pick this school again?” and “How do you spend your time on weekends?”
Peek into a “real” dorm room and bathroom.
If you can, check out a dorm room and dorm bathroom besides the one they show on the tour. Can you see yourself living here?
Eat in a student dining hall.
Four years is a long time to go without eating, so while you’re visiting campus, see if it’s possible to have a meal in a campus dining hall. Dining halls are also often good places to get a sense of the social atmosphere on campus.
Spend time walking around campus on your own.
Sure, you’ll probably be visiting with your parents, but when you actually go to college, mom and dad won’t be coming with you. So, at some point during
your time on campus, break away from your parents and walk around on your own for 15-20 minutes. Ask yourself: Can I see myself being comfortable here for four years?
Talk to a professor and sit in on a class.
Before your visit, ask the admissions office if it is possible for you to meet with a professor in your potential major and sit in on a class. While this might seem intimidating, you’ll learn much more about the academic atmosphere on campus this way than you will from just going on the tour or attending the formal admissions presentation.
Read campus bulletin boards.
Campus bulletin boards often contain clues about campus social life, the political hot buttons of students, and even whether it’s easy to find a ride home to where you live for spring break. The student union is a particularly good place to peruse bulletin boards.
Grab a copy of the student newspaper.
You’ll usually find the student newspaper in a rack near the door of the main library or student union. Don’t leave campus without getting hold of the latest issue. Read it for insight into life on campus. You’ll want to keep up with the online editions of the newspapers from the colleges that interest you most.
Explore the surrounding area.
You’ll want to get off campus from time to time so once you’ve seen the campus, check out the local neighborhood. What’s within walking distance of campus? Do you feel safe walking in the surrounding area? How friendly are the locals?
Write down your impressions and take pictures.
After a few campus visits, you’ll begin to blur colleges together in your mind. As soon as possible after your visit, write down your impressions of each school for future reference. Take your camera (or cellphone) and snap as many pictures as you can of whatever catches your eye. When you’re trying to answer application essay questions about why you want to attend this school, you’ll be glad to have your notes and the photos to refer back to.
Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-reading-book-256455/
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