With school vacations just around the corner, now is a great time to plan some college visits. "Feet on the ground" college visits are the best way for a student to get a feel for the actual campus vibe and learn more about a school. Here is some key information to get you started:
Questions for the student to ask while visiting
- Do I like the setting of this college? (City, rural, suburban)
- How big are the classes?
- How accessible are the professors?
- Are there clubs or organizations offered that I would like to be involved in?
- What are the dorms like?
- Can I see this place as my home for the next four years?
Taking the time to explore different types of colleges is important and worthwhile, regardless if they make it onto the final college list.
Timing of the visit
The ideal time to make a visit is while the college is in session. By checking out the campus while school is in session you can:
- Observe current students in action
- Attend a theatre production
- Watch a sporting event
- Sit in on a classroom lecture
Being on the campus while the college is in session allows students to get a good sense of whether or not a particular college fits them. And if you can't make it for an official tour through the admissions office, you can take a self-guided tour. Many colleges offer brochures to lead you around campus.
Knowing which colleges to visit
Taking a formal tour of a college, or attending an information session, doesn't commit the student to apply. It simply provides more information about a school so that student can know if he or she should apply, and helps the student become aware of the different academic and extracurricular options available at different schools. There's therefore helpful to visit as many colleges as possible. These visits are a great way to:
- Let the college know of the student's potential interest
- Learn more about different options for majors
- Hear about career and internship opportunities
Virtual tours as an option
We know that not everyone has the chance to go visit a college in person, but don't worry, you likely still have the chance to "see" the college. Most schools today have a virtual tour posted on their undergraduate admissions webpage allowing the student to get a feel for the campus environment and to hear from faculty, students, and administrators. Taking part in a virtual tour helps a student get a better feel for a campus and learn more about college life.
Exploring the college atmosphere during junior year will help determine what is important to the student and help to refine and define the student's college list. To hear a bit more about campus visits, watch our video. And to learn more about the college application process, visit our How to Apply to College page.