Are overnight stays important? How should I prepare for an overnight stay?

College Visits

Our counselors answered:

Are overnight stays important? How should I prepare for an overnight stay?

Lisa Carlton
Owner www.collegematchpoint.com

Are overnight stays important? How should I prepare for an overnight stay?

I think overnight stays are really important when you are determining which college to attend. They allow to "try out" the college. You get to see what it is actually like to sleep in the dorm, attend classes, and live on the campus. I wish more students would do an overnight prior to choosing their college. Preparing for an overnight is about like preparing for a sleepover. The college will provide you with a list of what to bring. Be sure to bring some homework as your host will likely need to study!

Tira Harpaz
Founder CollegeBound Advice

Are overnight stays important? How should I prepare for an overnight stay?

Overnight stays can be extremely important in getting a real sense of campus life and how students interact. However, if you can't stay overnight, don't worry, because it's certainly not essential. In addition, you should understand that you might not always be compatible with a student who agrees to host you, and I wouldn't make a decision about a school on the basis of your overnight host. In terms of preparing for a stay, make sure that you have emailed your host to get information about where and when to meet and make sure you get a cell phone number if possible. Be polite, be neat and don't expect too much attention from your host and you should be fine.

Pamela Hampton-Garland
Owner Scholar Bound

Are overnight stays important? How should I prepare for an overnight stay?

Overnight stays are important if the student believes it to have importance. One night in a staged environment does not provide a true idea of living, learning and socializing on a campus.

Diana Hanson
Common Sense College Counseling College Mentors

Are overnight stays important? How should I prepare for an overnight stay?

Once you've narrowed down your choices to one or two, having an overnight can be super helpful--it will give you a strong sense of a particular college. When you contact the college regarding an overnight, ask to attend a class or two in your area(s) of interest as well as spend time with your 'student host' participating in college activities. If you're an athlete and going to an NCAA III college, contact the coach ahead of time and try and arrange to attend a practice (some will invite you to practice with the team). Also, make sure you find time to wander the town around the college to get a feel for day-to-day life there.

Henry DelAngelo
High School Counselor 20 + years Your Key to College

Are overnight stays important? How should I prepare for an overnight stay?

Overnight stays can be extremely important and well worth the time if you plan the right way for them. This is a visit to get a sense of the academic and social life on campus. Plan to sit in on a few classes and perhaps meet with a professor that teaches a class within your intended major. Arranging to stay with a friend or a student that had attended your high school is a good way to get on campus and feel comfortable.

Daniel Kramer
College Advisor The Wight Foundation

Are overnight stays important? How should I prepare for an overnight stay?

Overnight visits are great for as many colleges and universities on your list so long as you aren't jeopardizing your GPA in the fall of senior year by missing too many days. I suggest, however, that the best overnight visit is one that involves sitting in on multiple classes. Get a sense of a professor or two. Experience how a college classroom feels like at this school. Listen to the professors and observe the students. Are they engaged? Are they excited to be there?

Brittany Maschal
Founder/Director B. Maschal Educational Consulting

Are overnight stays important? How should I prepare for an overnight stay?

On campus, try to sit in on a class. This typically is not part of an info session and tour, but many schools do have this as ad "add on." If a school has this option do it, same with having lunch with a current student. Explore what the school has to offer in as many ways that you can while you are there as you may only get to visit once. Off campus, try to check out the town or city around the campus. Are there things to do (and does this matter to you?) or is the campus itself the only place where the action is nearby? Is it easy to get to, is there an airport and or train station nearby if you are someone that wants to be able to travel/visit home easily? You need to be able to see yourself spending four year there so get off campus and make sure to check out your surroundings.

Sommer Lang
School Counselor

Are overnight stays important? How should I prepare for an overnight stay?

Over night stays can be fun and can show you what your daily life would be like. Overnight stays aren't necessary, however. Typically, after spending a few hours on a campus you will have a good idea as to if it is a good fit for you.

Lisa Ford

Are overnight stays important? How should I prepare for an overnight stay?

Overnight stays aren't necessarily important. One night will not tell you if the college is a good fit or not. It would let you know if the dorms are set up in a way where you'd feel comfortable living in them. If you decide to stay overnight, plan it well in advance. Work with your admissions counselor, so it can be a good experience. She/He will know if there is a college game/play/band day/etc that day and would best match you with your interests.

Dr Sharon
Associate Professor and Program Director of the International Business Bachelor Program Friends University

Are overnight stays important? How should I prepare for an overnight stay?

It is crucial that you find an institution that is a good fit with you. Colleges are not substitute goods, where one is pretty much like another. The culture of the place has a tremendous impact upon how much you enjoy your college years and how well you can learn in this environment. For that reason, spending time at the institution is very important. Remember that you are interviewing the institution just as much as the institution is interviewing you. If you arrive and don't like what you see, move on to your other choices. This decision is too important to take lightly and to not do research.