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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