Can I Go on A College Visit?
Whether you’ve begun applying to school or not, planning a college visit is the best way to ensure you end up in the right place. Imagine spending a few years at a school that might lack convenience, practicality, or even comfort. That’s why visiting is an essential part of the college selection process.
Going to colleges campuses will help more than anything in finding the right fit for you. You can get a live feel for the atmosphere, culture, food, and resources available to you, to ensure you match with your favorite school. For a step-by-step guide on how to schedule a college visit, continue reading below!
What if the school is too far to visit?
Your location should never be a limiting factor! If you cannot physically make it to a college visit but still want an idea of what it’s like, you can always attend a Virtual Tour! Rising in popularity, these tours offer virtual information and Q&A sessions for students to get familiar with an institution. Organizations like YouVisit, The Princeton Review, and CampusTours provide several virtual offerings including video tours, interactive maps, and more (click on the links to check it out)!
If you are seriously considering attending a school, however, you should definitely try to visit its campus prior to applying or committing to it. Although, don’t be mistaken. Virtual tours are not a last resort, they are a revolutionary, convenient resource! If a virtual tour works better for your schedule than an in-person tour for whatever reason, make sure to attend it! You’ll learn something new either way.
What’s there to do on a college visit?
You can do a wide variety of activities during a college visit, including touring the campus, visiting an admissions counselor, professor, coach, or any faculty member, or attending a lecture or seminar.
Coordinate with a campus admissions counselor to ensure you get the most out of your visit. Whether you want to learn about sports, extracurriculars and clubs, academics, or anything else, ask a counselor and they will steer you in the right direction.
How to Visit The Schools of Your Choice:
Step 1: Make a list.
When making a list of schools, ask yourself a few questions about the schools you want to apply to or visit.
What kind of institution do you want to attend?
- Decide which program of study you are interested in. Examples include a four-year Bachelor’s program, a two-year Associate’s program, or a technical degree from a trade school.
Do you plan to commute or live on campus?
- Determining this can help you hone in on places you can visit. Commuting will limit you to schools in your area, but does not require you to change your housing situation. Living on or near campus expands your options for college and can allow you to discover new areas.
Where do you want to attend college?
- Where in the world would you like to study? Where is possible for you to visit?
- Do you prefer a big city? Or a smaller college town?
- Do you want to live in a large community like a state school? Or would you prefer a small liberal arts college instead?
Step 2: Set up a Visit
To set up a visit with one of the schools on your list, contact their admissions office and schedule an appointment.
- Search Google or visit your preferred college’s website to find the admissions office’s phone number or contact information.
- Call and ask to schedule a college visit, and an admissions counselor will likely guide you in the right direction. They are known to be friendly and are willing to discuss any questions you may have.
- Some colleges have online registration forms for college visits on their websites, but a phone call might allow you to better communicate any preliminary questions.
- Find a few dates that can work for you. If you have a break, if you are free after school or work, or if you are going on a vacation to somewhere nearby, then use those dates/times.
Step 3: Confirm your appointment and plan your visit
- Ensure you know how to get there. Make sure you know which day and what time you have scheduled.
- Get familiar with a map of campus and save important addresses, such as the visitor’s centers, student centers, admissions offices, and any landmark or perhaps restaurant you’d like to see.
- If planning an overnight stay, make sure you pack accordingly. If going for a single-day visit, be sure to bring a backpack and either a computer or a pen and paper so you can take notes.
Step 4: Visit campus!
- Meet with your campus host, whether a faculty member, dean, student, or member of the admissions office, at your scheduled location. Come ready with notes and questions you have about the school.
- Be sure to arrive 15 minutes early to plan for any obstacles along the way. You may also be able to be compensated or reimbursed for travel expenses, flight costs, or other costs incurred during the visit, so make sure to inquire with your host about that!
- Make a list of everything that you like and dislike about the school you’re visiting. Take pictures and keep notes, because it’s very easy to forget details and specifics, especially when you are visiting multiple colleges.
Step 5: Compare it to your other options.
- After you visit a few schools, stack them up next to each other and see which one you like best!
- Consider how comfortable you feel in that environment; if you like the size, location, and culture; and if you can see yourself there for multiple years!
Post-secondary education is a long-term commitment, so it is always advisable to have a clear vision, path, and goals for college.
Visiting colleges can help you understand what you want to do and where you want to be so that you can succeed and reach your goals! Don’t be nervous! Be observant, relaxed, and try to have fun.