My initial response to this is that I hope you have visited or done thorough research on any school you have been admitted to. I don’t see the sense in applying to a school that you don’t have a good feeling for from day one.
After you get accepted to a college/university, then the tables are turned, and now it’s your turn to check them out! Lots can change since you first applied. You’ll be spending the next four years there, so you’ll want to fully check out your options!
If at all possible, it is a good idea to visit the campus in-person. There’s a lot you can learn from the information they send you, their website, advice from friends and family, but there’s nothing like actually visiting the campus and getting a feel for how it really is.
Most colleges have a specific day that they reserve just for showing newly accepted students around. It’d definitely be good to go to this. Usually, there will be sessions to introduce you to faculty, staff, and current students. They’ll talk to you about academics, majors, student services, student clubs and activities, and most likely give you a tour of the campus and let you look in the dorms. This is a good way to get an overview of the campus, its programs, majors, and get a lot of your questions answered. You can also learn a lot from listening to the answers of questions that other students ask.
In addition, there are some other things you can do while you’re there. Maybe it’d be a good idea to stick around a day or two, or come a day or two early, and just hang out on campus. Maybe grab lunch or dinner in the dining hall, and check out the general vibe on-campus. What are students talking about? Are they stressed out because of intense academics, or are they gearing up for the Friday night football game? Is there are football team? Do you care? What about fraternities and sororities? Do most of the students live on campus or is it more of a “commuter school? There are a lot of factors that make up the general “culture” of a college, and the students who go there.
Speaking of students, be sure to look around and check them out. What’s your feeling about them? Do you think you’d have anything in common with some of them? Go where lots of them congregate. Do they seem a lot more intellectual than you, or do they seem like frat party types, while you’re more of a nerd? We don’t want to necessarily jump to any rash conclusions, or engage in stereotypes, but the fact is that we usually make friends with others who share certain similarities, interests and values. And it’s nice to have friends in college.
You might want to drop by the department of your intended major. Pick up any information about the major they have. Most departments will have a major brochure, (and also a website you can check out later). Also just check out the office, the staff, faculty who wander through. Start up a conversation with a couple of students waiting in the office. What do they like about the college/major? What don’t they like? What’s on the bulletin board? Any interesting opportunities? You can learn a lot just by using your vast powers of observation.
Check out the class schedule and attend an interesting sounding class or two. You can always just sit in the back in a large lecture hall, or if it’s a small class, you can ask the prof if it’s OK for you to observe. Since you’re parachuting into an on-going class, don’t expect to understand the lecture necessarily, just observe and take it all in.
Repeat this process at the other schools you’re accepted to and want to consider attending. Sounds like a lot of work? Well, yes, but reasonably interesting and fun work, don’t you think? (Consider it sociological research? 🙂 Hopefully you’ll find the school that suits you best. But also remember, and relax … nine times out of ten, students love the school they pick!
Please feel free to talk to me anytime during this process. I’d like to hear how your research is going, and I can help you make this important decision. Good luck!
Due diligence is the key. See if you can do an overnight visit, where you can see what campus life is really like at the school. Make sure you sit in on some classes to get the “feel” of what it would really be like to go to college there. See what the surrounding town or urban area is like, how easy or difficult it is to get to the city a suburban college brags about being near.
Once accepted, students should seek their own information from the school in addition to what the admission office provides them. The admission office will host accepted student programs for admitted students, and these programs are wonderful ways to meet other potential classmates and gain general information about academic programs and extracurricular programs. However, the admissions office is trying to encourage you to deposit at their school among many choices. Therefore, you may not always get the most complete picture of the school. If the program includes visiting classes, you will probably be sent to classes with the most talented professors and teachers. If the program includes meeting current students, these students will likely be the ones who are among the most enthusiastic at the school.
Now, you are holding all the cards!! The tables have turned–instead of you trying to impress the admissions office through your application, now the school has to make the right impression on you so that you will choose them! Take your time, focus on what is most important to you. Are dorms important? The food? How about the student to faculty ratio? Talking to students off the tour is a great way to get a feel for the school. Sit in on a class or spend the night. Whatever you do, make a considered decision, you have until May 1st!
With humility rather than a haughty attitude. Know & follow all the rules.
Congratulations on your acceptance letter! Vetting a school once you have been admitted requires honesty with yourself. There are many outside factors that influence a student’s choice to apply to a college. Now you are in the game for real and you need to get real about what elements of a good fit the school has for you. Filter out the extra noise of prestige, an hour closer to home, your best friend or worse foe has also been accepted.
At different points in time, families find the college search, application, and selection process akin to courtship. After acceptance, the entire wooing process shifts. Colleges roll out the red carpet for accepted student visits. When you approach a college visit as an accepted student, be wary of style over substance. Will it be as beautiful covered in three feet of snow as it is with freshly changed flower beds? The head of the department sounds amazing, but will I be able to get into her course? Before you visit, spend some time creating a list of 3-5 characteristics that really matter to you. Then, rate the visit on these qualities rather than allowing extraneous factors (like the way you felt when they introduced the band you play YOUR fight song or the “free” iPad you receive as an incoming freshman) to impede your view. Ultimately, keep in mind: will this school enable me to achieve my goals?
Congratulations! You now have the ball in your court, and you get to be the one who decides whether you will attend or not. if this is going to be your home for the next 4 years, then you need to be sure that it has what you need. The least important things are what your freshman dorm room looks like or whether the school offers round the clock excitement (which could be distracting!) What really matters is the people you will be living with, the accessibility of the professors if you are confused about something in class, and whether you will be comfortable with the classroom sizes and the overall “feel” of the campus. Trust your instincts, but don’t expect that everything will be perfect. Just know what you need to be happy, and choose among your schools for the one that can do that the best. And don’t panic! If you make a truly horrible choice, there’s always the option of transferring.
Pretend you are going to attend that college. Then visit classes, spend the night in a dorm with a current freshman or sophomore. Eat in the cafeteria, meet with different people on campus, and get a feel for what your life will be like. Remember that you will spend four years at this college. Do you think you may outgrow it? Can you change majors? Ask the key questions that matter. The admissions officers are there to help you decide so they will help connect you with all kinds of people. Also see who else you may know at the campuses to help make your visit truly personal.
Great question and one of the most overlooked strategies for really finding your best-fit college. Even if you’ve already visited the school in the past, you will want to go back and visit the top 2-3 schools you were accepted to. This time around, however, try to stay the night on campus somewhere (some college admission offices can set this up for you), definitely sit in on a few classes in the major you are interested in going into, eat a dining hall or two, and then hang around on campus to get a feel for what the students are like. You are about to spend the next four years of your life at college, so make sure you find the place that you truly want to be.
As an accepted student you should inquire about the possibility of an overnight campus visit, as opposed to a traditional 2-3 hour visit. An overnight visit is a great opportunity for you to see what happens outside the traditional class hours as well as meet many current students. You will also get a chance to see what dorm life is like and eat the food in the dining hall…two important factors in your decision-making process!
As an accepted student, you should ask freshman specific questions. During your visit, make sure you get an idea of where you will be living, eating, and studying. Getting a big picture of what your freshman year will look like will help you to know what to bring with you, making course scheduling decisions (AM vs PM), and it will give you a good view of what your time management will have to be. During the visit you should network and make a good impression; this will allow you to have a head start on making connections.
You should view the visit as if you were the student. What does a typical day look like? Eat in the cafeteria. shadow a student or sit in on a class. Put yourself in the shoes of a college student for that day. Can you picture yourself at that college?
While college visits early on in the process are to help you get a sense of what you’re looking for, approaching a college visit when trying to make a college decision is very different. If possible, the best way to assess a college to which you’ve been accepted is to plan an overnight visit. This will give you a chance to “immerse” yourself to the fullest into that college’s environment. Attend classes, speak to professors and students, eat in the dining halls, go to a club meeting if possible, etc. This is the best way to get a deeper sense of a school that you are seriously considering.
As an accepted student, you are in the driver’s seat. They are now trying to convince you to attend the school. Visit with a skeptical eye. Make sure that the tour guide or an admissions rep answers all of your questions. You are going to live there for 4 years, so you need to know what you are getting into. One of the statistics most colleges track is called yield; How many of the students they admit actually attend. Keeping this number high is important to the bottom line, so they are attentive to it. You still need to be polite and respectful, but remember you are the buyer here.
Once an institution has decided they want you, it’s time to dig even deeper. Many schools offer opportunities to visit again, stay overnight, all geared to a group of students at the same point in the decision process. If such an offer is not forthcoming, it is worth asking if there is a chance to do any of the above. The more you talk to people on campus, the more you see the campus at all times of the day/week, the better your knowledge base when you have to put down that deposit.
I ran campus visit programs for years and noticed major differences between prospective students on the tours and admitted students. Prospective student ,want to know about academic programs, majors, and if the college environment “feels right”.
Be friendly, you will be with classmates. Pay specific attention to things that will specifically affect you.
As the April Crunch draws closer, high school seniors and their parents may focus on bells and whistles (and name) of universities when making their college selections, but often overlook the top ten things students should find out before committing to a college. Fixating on the dimensions of the dorm rooms, the collections at the library, the honors and study-abroad programs, or even the quality of the football team are all important aspects of the decision making process. However, high school seniors should also consider the fundamental aspects of the university. Before a student makes that final decision (and the parents write that deposit check), following are 10 things to consider before making a commitment:
As a true consumer! This may be the single largest investment (besides the family home) that your family will be making. Ensure there is no buyer’s remorse.
This really depends on whether you have visited already. If you have already visited, and this is your second time on campus you are trying to get all of your questions answered and to see if you feel like you belong. Do you get a feeling like you could see yourself here? Do everything that you didn’t do the first time. For example, if you didn’t get to see a classroom etc. If this is your first visit you are looking to get an overall look at the school and do everything you can. I would suggest going on a guided tour the first day, then spend the night in town and check out restaurants and shopping. The next day show up unannounced and walk around on your own. Notice what students are doing. Go to the library, the student center and see whats up. If it is after 10 a.m. and the campus is dead this could be a sign that students aren’t very active on campus and that they stay inside. But it is also a good idea to talk to a student. Ask them some questions and get their perspective. You really just want to observe anything you can, and it is not a bad idea to take pictures so you will remember what you saw that day.
Once the schools have made their decisions the pendulum swings to the other side. Where all the anxiety once rested with the applicant, now admissions directors sweat out the student decision making process. If you did things right the places that accepted you should fit your basic profile, all offering the college experience and programs you seek. Consequently your visit, like the whole decision making process, should be aimed at determining if a place is the best fit, the most comfortable, the place where you will grow the most and be best able to maximize your ambitions. Can you see yourself there for the next four years? Now it is up to you.
Once you have been admitted to a college, you will look at it with a very different lens and you should! No longer is the question “Can I get in?” but now you are asking “Do I want to go there?” When you visit a school as an admitted student, the visit should be very different. No more campus tours and info sessions for you! Instead look and see if the school hosts an Accepted Student Open House or Visit Program. See if you can spend the night with a current student and attend classes in your area of interest. Ask lots of questions, find out about scholarship monies or financial aid. Talk to friends of yours who may attend. Talk with your school counselor, and your parents… Try your best to gather as much information as possible to give you an idea of what your experience would be like there.
many colleges will provide accepted students with open house opportunity to learn more about campus and academis. you may ask for specific arrangements to learn more, it worst case is no but still you have more access to learn the schools.
Go to accepted student days, but be discerning. They are rolling out the red carpet for you, so realize this is not reality.
Imagine yourself as a student there. Do everything you can to increase your awareness of life as a student at that college: the classes and workload, the peers and professors, the social life and extra-curricular activities. Talk to students, talk to professors in the fields that interest you, talk to coaches, visit the places where you would engage in other activities – like the studios, the office of the student union. Eat the food. Research something in the library and see whether there’s help within easy reach. Breathe in the atmosphere. Can you see yourself spending four years at this college, with these people, engaged fully at this college?
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