Checking out colleges in person is an important part of the application process for many students. Check out the “pro tips” in this Reader’s Digest article by Erica Lambert (which I am featured in!) to get the most out of every campus visit.
Some key takeaways:
- The best time to start visiting colleges is in the fall of junior year, and then again in the spring, and the remaining visits can take place at the end of the summer before senior year and into early fall (September and October). Visit when school is in session!
- If you vacation, vacation where you can visit colleges. This is a huge time-saver.
- Take the full tour offered by Admissions, including visiting residence halls, classrooms, and labs. And if the college offers you lunch in a dining center—take it! Don’t try to cut this part of the visit short. Let students immerse themselves in the true campus experience.
- Do your homework. Read and research about the schools you are visiting before you go.
- A few weeks before you arrive, reach out to the people you want to meet with and be flexible about setting up meetings.You might also reach out to student groups with whom you share an interest. Lastly, visit the advising center of your chosen major or college and speak to an advisor, and consider meeting with a professor in the department who has office hours on the day of your visit.
- Talk to students on campus; go to the library, dining hall, etc.—see it all!
- Visit and stay overnight with a friend if you have one on campus. It can be particularly important for getting a sense of the school’s social scene and vibe outside of academics.
- Go beyond campus and explore the surrounding city, town or neighborhood.