Get The Most Out Of A Campus Visit
By Kim Yang
Visiting a college campus allows you to experience the campus atmosphere firsthand, interact with current students, and gain valuable insights into the college’s academic programs and extracurricular offerings. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your visits.
Visiting a college campus is one of the most exciting steps in choosing a college. It’s best to visit colleges before your applications are due. That way, you can be confident you’d be happy at any college you’re applying to.
It’s also best to go when the college is in session. You’ll see the campus when classes are meeting and day-to-day activities are in full swing.
Here are some guidelines on when to visit. Plan your visit well ahead of time. That way you can make sure you see what you need to see and meet with the people who can tell you what you need to know.
During the Week
Mondays through Thursdays are ideal for visits because you can get a good idea of what campus life is like. Visiting on a Friday may not be as practical. Students, faculty, and staff might be busy with social activities starting Friday afternoon.
High school holidays that fall on Mondays are often perfect opportunities for making college visits. Many colleges are in session on these days and you won’t be missing any of your high school classes.
The Best Seasons
The spring of your junior year is a good time if you’ve already researched colleges. Spring break is also good if you play fall sports or are considering applying under early action or early decision plans, which usually have application deadlines in November of your senior year.
Early fall is also a good time for seniors to visit. That timing can help seniors narrow their college lists.
Six Steps to Get the Most Out of a Campus Visit
Why plan a visit?
Checking out a college campus near you is a great idea, even if you don’t know what you want to major in or what type of college you want to attend. Campus visits can give you a sense of what might be important to you in a college and what college life is all about. Here are six suggestions for planning and getting the most out of your visit.
- Decide Where and How.
Find out which colleges are nearby. Think about planning a visit. Your high school may have programs that arrange group trips to colleges. You could also get a group of friends together and visit the campus by car or public transportation. A family trip is another option, allowing you to involve your family in the process.
- Prepare for Your Visit.
Before you set out, get a map of the college campus (the college’s website usually has one). Pick out places of interest. Call the college’s admissions office to schedule a guided campus tour. Ask about the best times to visit.
- Take Your Own Tour.
Wandering around the campus on your own or with friends can be the best way to get a feel for the college.
- Explore the College’s Facilities.
Talk to students to find out the best places to eat and have lunch there. Visit the library. Check out the gym or the theater. Ask an admissions officer if you can tour a residence hall and a classroom. Find the spots on campus where students gather. Hang out there to get a feel for the character of the college.
- Make Connections.
Talk to current students while on your campus visit. Ask the students at the next table or sitting on a nearby bench what they like best about the college and being a student there. Most will be eager to talk about their experiences.
- Make Notes.
During your campus tour, write down some notes about your experience. What did you see that excited you? Do you feel you could explore the library for days? Can you picture yourself on stage in the theater? Do you want to get a closer look at the equipment in a lab? Are there aspects of the college that you don’t like? If so, what are they?
When you visit a college, relax, observe, and have fun. There’s no pressure.