Although there are some hilarious truths to College Humor’s video, I still suggest visiting the schools on your list. Here are some suggestions for campus visits:
Scheduling Your Trip
- Pick a time that’s convenient for you, but try to go when classes are in session. That way, you can sit in on a class, eat lunch with a current student, etc. You’ll only get a true feel for the campus if you’re there on a day when classes are in full swing.
- Monday through Thursday is ideal. If possible, try to visit during high school holidays that fall on Mondays, when most colleges are in session.
- Find out how often college tours run, and if you have to sign up in advance.
- If an interview is offered (always interview if offered), you’ll likely need to make an appointment. Also, consider meeting with a financial aid officer if you will be applying for aid.
- If you’re curious about a club, program, or sport, arrange to attend a practice, rehearsal, or club meeting. The same goes for your academic department of interest; reach out ahead of time and see if you can meet faculty or staff while on campus.
When Not to Go
- Try to avoid Thanksgiving weekend, Christmas week, winter and spring break, and of course, summer (end of May, June, July, first two weeks of August). If you can only visit during the summer months, try to go on a day when there are full visit programs geared toward freshmen, if applicable.
- Avoid visiting when classes aren’t meeting such as university reading period, exam weeks, weekends, and when the admission office is closed to visitors.
Research the College
- It’s important to know something about the college before you arrive on campus, especially if you have an interview scheduled or plan to meet with academic departments or faculty.
- Review the website, course catalogs, and any other materials the college sends to prospective students or that are available to you online.
Talk to People and Take Notes
- Make a list of what characteristics are most important to you, so you know what to evaluate. Do you feel overwhelmed in a large lecture hall? Check out the class size. Is there a particular major that you want to pursue? Review the department website and swing by when on campus if you were not able to schedule a meeting ahead of time.
- Talk to current students or professors and send follow-up emails (and thank you notes/emails).
- Talk to admissions officers if possible; make sure to get their card/contact info and follow up with a thank you email or handwritten note.
- Was it X College or Y University that had an awesome library/gym/biology lab? Where did I talk to that psychology professor? You think you’ll remember everything, but you’ll be surprised how colleges start to blend after you’ve seen a few. So…
- TAKE NOTES at each school about what you liked and disliked, the places on campus you saw that impressed you, the names of the dorms, library, etc.! Takes notes on everything. This info will come in handy when it comes time to write “why school” and other supplemental essays/interest/defer letters!
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