Springtime of junior year and the summer prior to senior year is the excellent time for students and their families to visit colleges of interest to them. It also provides a perfect excuse for a family vacation. There is no better way to get a “feel” for a campus and how you fit in than to spend some time there. As an added bonus, you will be showing demonstrated interest which many colleges value in a competitive admission process.
Here are some tips to make the most of your college visits:
- Sign up online or by phone. Remember to ask if interviews are available so you don’t miss out on the opportunity.
- Sign in with the Admissions Office for your tour and presentation.
- Try to tour when classes are in session. Ask if it is possible to attend a class.
- Visit a variety of colleges (urban, suburban, rural, large, small, reaches, safeties, 50/50’s, public, private) to get a better understanding on the differences between them.
- Consider visiting other colleges close by to maximize your trip.
- Check out the student newspaper.
- Eat in a dining hall.
- Take notes and pictures. These may be helpful when writing your supplemental essays.
- Ask about career planning and job placement assistance.
- Inquire about the array of student activities available.
- Engage in conversation with current students around campus, in the residence halls, and in the dining facility.
- Ask about how accessible professors are to students.
- If you know any current students, try to make prior arrangements to get together, even possibly planning an overnight stay in a dorm.
- Official tours usually consist of a tour and presentation with time allotted for questions and answers.
- In addition to learning about a college’s positive attributes, I also want to be informed of the negative ones. Consider asking, if you could change anything about your college what would it be?
- Take business cards from admission officers you meet and your tour guides. Remember to write timely thank you notes.
- Many college admission officers also host college information sessions at high schools. Make an effort to attend them as well. Sign in for those too as demonstrated interest is often noted.
Due to financial and time constraints, it probably will not be possible to visit all the colleges one is interested in. Virtual tours are an alternative when an in person visit is just not possible, as well as meeting with admission representatives that visit your high school. For those students considering applying early decision, as a private college counselor, I strongly advise visiting the campus first before filing a binding admission application. If a student is still undecided after admission decisions have been rendered, I highly recommend visiting those campuses where the student has been offered admission. As an independent college consultant, Pam Ohriner, of Helping Hand College Guidance, can help you plan your college tour to make the most of your college visits. Please contact us at Pamela@helpinghandcollegeguidance.com if you have any questions or would like to inquire about our services.