College Visits: Tips for Making the Most of a College Visit

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If you plan on attending college in the future, there’s probably a good chance that you’re going to apply to a handful of schools. Just like buying a car, there’s probably a good chance that you’re going to want to test drive the campus before you apply and get accepted. The last thing that you want to have happen is you show up on campus and find out that you’re 10 miles away from any sort of civilization.

When you head to a campus to visit, here are some things that you will want to keep in mind:

#1 Talk with Students – Most of the time, you’re going to be with a guide that shows you around the campus. When you’re done with your guided tour, head off the beaten path and talk with a few students on campus. Ask them questions such as:

  • What did you go here?
  • What is the greatest thing about this school?
  • What is one thing you didn’t know about this school?
  • If there were some negatives that you can change, what would they be?

#2 Talk with the Staff – Like the students, try to talk with the staff that is around the campus. Keep in mind that they will probably be biased since they are receiving a paycheck. When talking with the staff, don’t just talk to any professor, but instead, talk with someone that will potentially teach your classes. So if you’re going to go into social work, you may want to find someone that inside of the social work department.

#3 Take notes – If you’re going to visit more than one campus, make sure that you take notes. What you’re going to find is that after your third or fourth visit, there may be a chance that you’re going to forget some details. These notes are going to help you remember things while you’re making your rounds. Be sure to note down things you like, things you don’t like and what other students said. It also doesn’t hurt to take pictures of the campus either.

#4 Attend a Class – Most of your larger universities will have classrooms with more than 200 students in them. If you can find a class like this, consider sitting in on the class for the day. This is a great way to get a feel for the school, the professors and how the university works. While this may be hard to do, you may have to talk with someone that attends the school to see which class may be best for you to drop in on.

#5 Don’t Forget the Tours – Many students may just show up on the campus and never get a professional tour. You have to realize that these tours are going to show you everything that you need to know about the college itself. Let’s not forget that these guides will also answer any questions that you may have. So if you plan on taking a tour of the campus, be sure to reserve your spot as early as possible because they do fill up fast.

#6 Download a Map – Some college campuses can seem like the size of a city, and if you’re not familiar with them, you’re going to miss out on a lot of things! Before you head to the campus, be sure to download a map on their website. With that map, take a tour of the campus and try to see everything on the map. As you go, cross off the things that you’re visiting. That way, in the end, you will be assured that you saw everything that you wanted to see.

#7 Play Tourist – Aside from the college campus, also make sure that you escape the campus. Outside of the campus, make sure that you check out the local hot spots. Where can you eat? What kind of things can you do? What do people do for fun? Remember, you could be on this campus for more than four years and there are going to be times when you will want to go downtown to have some fun.

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Can College Students Have Fun while Studying?

If you’re like most college students out there, you probably think that it’s impossible to have fun while studying for an exam. It’s true that studying isn’t the most exciting activity out there, but there are certainly some ways in which you can amp up the level of entertainment.

Study Groups

One of the worst parts of studying is having to practically seclude yourself in your room or library for hours upon end. The barista at the library coffee shop is your only friend during your study session, and you start to get very lonely. Instead of studying by yourself, make a study group with classmates. When you don’t understand a certain topic, another student can explain it to you. Additionally, you can take breaks every so often just to chat.

Trivia Night

Have each member of your study group right a few questions regarding the topic and bring them to the next gathering. Each person can take a turn asking his or her questions. When someone gets a question right, award points to that individual. If the study group has a tutor, the tutor can be the one to ask all of the questions and keep score. Make an incentive to win the game. The loser might have to buy coffee for all of the others. Of course, money tends to be tight in college; therefore, you might decide that everyone else has to split the sole winner’s coffee.

Take Interesting Classes

Of course, this isn’t always possible. Every college has some core requirements and necessary classes that students must take. However, you also likely have some elective credit with which you are free to do as you want. Instead of taking whatever happens to be at a convenient time, opt for something in which you’re really interested such as ceramics, creative writing or forensics. Take a class because you want to, not because all of your friends are in it. When you’re studying a subject that you actually enjoy, it’s likely not going to feel as boring as others.

Take Regular Breaks

Another problem associated with studying is students feel as though the process is never going to end. They race through the textbook, so they can be finished with it for the night. Instead of going through everything in one long marathon, set up a break schedule. Study for 45 minutes, and then go for a 15 minute walk. Review your material for another 45 minutes, and take a break to watch your favorite show. You can also break the studying up into a few days. Of course, this doesn’t work if you’re a procrastinator and tend to cram for exams.

It’s likely that studying is never going to be the most exciting activity in the world, and many college students will never put it on their lists of “fun things to do.” However, it doesn’t have to be entirely excruciating. Just try to infuse entertaining elements into the process, and take regular breaks to give your mind some breathing time.