Getting The Most Of Your College Visit: Undergrad Edition

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One of the most important ways you can get a gauge on what kind of college you want to apply to or attend is through campus visits. After all, once you choose your university, it’ll become your “home away from home”, and your impression upon visiting should be a crucial factor in narrowing down your college options. This article explains how to make the most out of your college visits and offers advice on what to do while visiting the campuses. 

When to Schedule College Visits

  • There are two main methods that students use to schedule campus visits: some like to visit colleges before applying, while others like to apply to a general set of colleges they’re interested in, and then visit the colleges they’re considering in order to narrow down to a decision.
  • Consider visiting colleges before applying if 
    • The college is easy to travel to, or if it’s on the way of a road trip or vacation  
    • The application fee is expensive
    • The application requires extra work that may be avoided if you decide against attending the college  
    • You have family or friends on campus and can visit well before application time
  • Otherwise, visiting universities after acceptance might be a better option in order to save time and money. In addition to in-person campus tours, you can try the following in order to get a feel of the university:  
      • See if your college has virtual tours where you can click through campus locations 
      • Search for YouTube videos or blogs that showcase a campus 
      • Reach out to family or any older students at the university to help explain what the campus feel is like 
      • Check out forums such as College Confidential to read about students’ experiences  
      • Go through the college’s social media pages for more ideas on what kind of events and activities go on at the college  

Note: If possible, try to schedule campus visits when the university is busy and filled with students. Many campuses, especially commuter schools, are empty on weekends or holidays, which may not be an accurate depiction of campus life.  

Making the Most of Your Visit(s)

Consider the following tips to get the most out of your college visits

  • Sign up for guided campus tours through the college’s website
  • Ask your high school counselor for excused absences for college visits
  • Make sure to visit the dorms! Even better, see if you can stay overnight if you know any older students on campus
  • Try and talk to students while walking through campus and ask them about their experiences
  • Visit any specific departments you are interested in, especially those pertaining to your major
  • See if you can sit in on a class
  • Walkthrough the academic buildings and consider if you like the campus size
  • Go to an organization fair if possible!
  • Visit the college’s dining hall(s), student center, gym, and any other student buildings you have access to
  • Ask about campus safety and what safety measures are in place
  • Visit research facilities
  • Ask about what type of campus jobs or mentor centers are available
  • Ask about career fairs and professional events at the college
  • See if you can find the student newspaper! This will give you a great idea of what’s going on around campus
  • Finally, make sure to document your trip and take notes so you can refer back to them!

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