College visits are essential. After all, would you buy a car without taking it for a test drive? Your investment in college will certainly cost more, so it is important to fully understand what you are buying. These students, professors, and administrators will be a part of your life for at least the next four years. Every college has its own unique culture which cannot truly be understood by perusing catalogs, websites, or even videos.
Do not limit yourself to just the prescribed tour and information session (but don’t skip them either!) These are often scripted and led by students who are the college’s best success stories. So how do you find out more? Follow the tips below, and you will be on your way.
Prepare before you go
Always check out the college basics, before you visit. Take a trip to the college website to see what they have to offer in majors, clubs, services, and anything else important to you.
Sure, you can have your parents drive you straight to the front door of the Admissions building. But is that how you will be traveling to school once you are a student? If you will be attending a college that is not within an easy drive from your home or freshman are not allowed to have cars, you will likely utilize some form of public transportation getting to and from campus. Always check the school website for travel recommendations.
Eat in the cafeteria
This is your chance to check out the food. Even better, this is your chance to check out the other students. Who is sitting with whom? Do the students seem happy? Approach some of the students to ask them about what they like best and what they would change.
Visit a class
After all, academics is the primary consideration for college choice. Sitting in on a class will give you an idea about how the students relate with their professors as well as the rigor you might experience.
Talk with a Department Chair
If you know what major you would like to declare, consider making an appointment with the Academic Chair of that department or his/her representative. Ask questions about the classes you will be taking and how the program differs from those at other colleges.
Make appointments (what services will you need?)
Will you need disability services, extra tutoring, or mental health services? Now is the time to find out if the college has what you need.
Talk with your Admissions Counselor
This college representative can not only tell you what they are looking for in a best fit student, but this is one of the people who will be reading your application! If you have already been admitted, the counselor can help you decide if it is the right school for you.