College Visit Tips

Scheduling a college visit can be one of the most useful tools in determining the right college choice for yourself.  Having the opportunity to check out the campus, interact with current students at the school, and learn more about the school can prove to be invaluable.  Not only will you be able to see what the campus is like but you will also be able to compare it to other college campus’ that you have visited.  You may think the first school you visit is awesome until you visit the second school and can compare the first school to something! Checkout some of our college visit tips below.

When should I visit?

This is a matter of personal preference.  We recommend students visit before their applications are due, so when they do submit their applications they will feel confident with all of the schools they are applying to. Some students may want to get ahead of the process and start college visits at the end of their junior year of high school. Other students may want to wait until the start of their senior year so that the schools are fresh in their minds when they start the application process.

Picking a date:

When scheduling a date to visit, plan ahead of time so that you can see the things you want to see, as well as talking to the people you need to talk to.

The best times:

The best time to schedule a college visit is going to be when classes are in session.  Having classes in session means that students are out and about on campus, which can really give you a great feel for the campus. The spring semester of your junior year in high school can be a good time to visit, but only if you have researched some schools beforehand! Another great time to visit is the fall semester of your senior year.  Visiting during your senior year of high school can really help you narrow down your college choices.

Post acceptance: 

After you have been accepted to a school they may invite you to visit for a couple of days before the May 1st decision deadline. This is a great opportunity to get a last chance feel for the school before making any decisions. Hopefully you have already visited this school, so this post-acceptance visit will be your second visit which will allow you to confirm what you already know.

When you shouldn’t visit:

The biggest thing you want to get out of a college visit is the feel and vibe of the school. The best way to figure those out is by visiting when the campus is in full swing. You do not want to visit when no one is on campus and the campus is dead. Winter, spring and summer breaks are not good times to visit because everyone is on break and not on campus! Thanksgiving break and Christmas break are also not great times to visit for the same reasons.  Saturdays and Sundays aren’t the worst thing in the world but you may get a different feel as there will be a bunch of extra things going on because it’s the weekend.

What should I “do” on my visit?

Since you can only visit so many schools you want to make sure you get the most out of your visits. It is important to have some interests in mind before going on a college visit. By having some interests in mind, you can weed out some things to see on campus. For example, if you are planning on being a business major, you will want to check out the college of business and you can probably skip out on the arts center.

Pre-visit:
  • Before parking, drive around campus so you can get an initial impression of the campus.
  • Speak with an admissions officer. Some schools even require you to interview with an admissions officer so this is a great time to do that!
  • Stop in the financial aid office and talk with someone there to get an idea of what aid you may qualify for.
  • If you happen to know what you intend to major in, setup a meeting with the dean of that major. So, if you intend to major in business, talk with the dean of the college of business and that person will be able to give you a great idea of what to expect!
Walking tour:
  • Depending on the school they may have you on a guided walking tour with a current student or they may have an admissions officer walk you around campus. Make sure if you have an admissions officer walking you around that you eventually talk with a student and ask him/her the questions only a student would be able to answer.
  • See the freshmen dorms, dining halls, student center/recreation center, classrooms, library, career center and athletic facilities.
  • Sit in on a class that is interesting to you. This is a great opportunity to get a feel for the learning environment at the school. Talk with students in the class and even the professor!

Questions to ask!

Asking questions allows you to get answers about the school. These answers may or may not be what you want to hear.  Admissions officers are going to tend to tell you what you want to hear, while students tend to be more honest and upfront with you. Talk with students as often as possible when on your visit! Here are some questions you should be thinking of while visiting schools:

  • What do you like about the school? Do you love it?
  • Why did you choose this school?
  • What do you do on the weekends?
  • What are other students on campus like?
  • Is there anything you would change about the school?
  • How much time do you spend on homework and studying?
  • How are the job prospects for students graduating?
  • Are their tutoring programs available for students?

These are only a few sample questions you should ask. There are hundreds of questions you can ask that will help make your college decision easier! This article serves as a guide for college visit tips in order to help you get the most out of your college visit.

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