Visit! Visit! Visit! In order to research completely a college or university it is important to visit whenever possible. You will be amazed at your varied reactions to campuses – the location, the fell, the crowd, the buildings, the tour guide, even the admissions office.
While it may not be possible to visit every school you decide to apply to, the following is a guide to making the most of the visits you have.
First, make an appointment. And, make that appointment several weeks in advance. For large universities, this appointment is most likely done via the website. For small schools, a phone call or website registration is possible. In most cases, your first view of a campus will be via a one to two hour group tour conducted by a current student who is well-versed in his/her campus culture and anecdotes. Ask questions. Walk near to the student when possible so as not to miss material presented.
Second, at most schools, the tour can be followed by a Question and Answer session. Take advantage of this opportunity as another way to learn more about the campus. A Q and A is typically led by an admissions officer. Again, questions are encouraged.
Third, if your tour is during the school year when students are in session, ask to visit a class in your possible field or major. And, you may have specific questions about your possible major. Ask to meet with a professor in that department.
Also, eat in one of the dining halls. Notice the food service and variety and even the lines to get food. Try to sit at a table with current students of the college in order to engage them in conversation about their school. Finally, request and overnight stay if possible.
Remember your visit is a two way street. You want to size up the college but the college also wants to know you. Be sure that the college has your name and phone number somewhere as a student who has taken the time to visit their campus. If possible, get the name of the college rep that is responsible for your high school. If you are unable to meet that rep while on campus, send a note to the rep after you return home. In most cases, this same rep for your geographic area will be responsible for the initial reading of all the applications for your area. You want to know this person in some way and vice versa!
An interview? Many colleges require or recommend an interview during their admissions process. Research ahead of time whether the school/s you are visiting would want to interview you while you are on campus. If so, contact the admissions office for and interview. (more information elsewhere on preparation for the interview).
What to bring to the campus visit:
- Printed confirmation of your tour and interview times/dates
- An unofficial copy of your transcript
- A list of your senior year courses
- A copy of your Student Activity Profile
- Samples of your work if appropriate – music, art, etc.
- Paper and Pen
- Campus map
What questions might I ask during my campus visit?
What happens on campus on weekends? Do students stay around or leave?
How easy is it to change majors?
How easy is it to have a double major?
How many students graduate in 4 years?
How difficult is it to get the courses I want each semester?
Tell me more about dorm life here -
- Quiet hours?
- Coed by floor?
- Coed by room?
- What if I don’t get along with my roommate?
- Is housing guaranteed?
- For all 4 years?
- How many upperclassmen live on campus?
How do students get to/from the airport? Is it expensive?
How popular are intramural sports?
How easy is it to join a club of even to start a new club?
Am I “reading” the campus correctly?
I think I like this college/university because ___________.