Schedule a college visit when classes are in session.
This way, you get to experience the real feel of the campus while students are in full swing. Sit in a class of a subject that interests you. Talk to a professor after class. Visit the bookstore. Talk with people who are involved with your extracurricular activities—coaches, club advisors, theater directors, and orchestra/band leaders are great contacts to make!
Take a campus tour.
A student guide will not only show you around, he or she will also show you the personality of the campus so you can picture yourself living and learning there. You can even create a “College Collage” to capture your favorite features of each college visit! When it comes time to decide, you’ll have visuals along with your notes and thoughts to revisit.
Use your time wisely.
Turn an average tour into an amazing one just by asking a few questions. You might even inspire other prospective students in your tour to inquire about things they never thought to ask.
Dress code: business casual!
You’re presenting yourself as a candidate, just as much as you are exploring the college. Present yourself the way you would on a job interview. That means no jeans, no dirty old sneakers, no T-shirts—no exceptions! First impressions are important.
Get the most out of your visit.
Try to schedule an informational interview with an admissions officer the same day you’re touring the campus. And if they offer appointments, visit the financial aid office, too. While a successful interview won’t guarantee admission, putting a face with your name will benefit you when admission officers discuss your application. To schedule an appointment, call the admissions office AT LEAST three weeks in advance. Be sure to ask for directions to the office to keep you on track physically and on time!
Questions to ask at visits:
- The best place to study (it might not be the library)
- The nicest dorms
- The popular on-campus jobs
- The best cafeteria food
- Where students hang out on campus
- Athletic games and events
- Upcoming concerts
- Celebrity speakers
- Anything that comes to mind!
- Talk to students. Ask them what they like and don't like about the college
- Grab a coffee at the student union, and check out the college newspaper
- Sit in an outdoor quad and people watch
- Check out a dorm or spend the night in a dorm if the college allows
Attention Mom and Dad!
The campus visit is a highly personal experience. Let your child take the lead and ask the majority of questions. Limit yourself to no more than three questions; for example, it is perfectly appropriate to ask about financial aid, campus safety, and academic opportunities. Try to walk at least six steps behind the groups of students on the tour—let your child have the front seat!