I want to make the most of campus visits. What should I do, look for, and ask while I'm there?

College Search

Our counselors answered:

I want to make the most of campus visits. What should I do, look for, and ask while I'm there?

Joanne Levy-Prewitt

College tours should include information about academic advising programs.

When visiting campuses, students should inquire about the specifics of academic advising. Advisors help students choose courses and majors and can ensure that students make informed decisions about their education. Ask the tour guide, or the admissions staff, how you will be assigned an academic advisor. Who are the advisors? Are they professors? Graduate students? Peers? Will you receive an advisor as a freshman or after you declare a major? If there is an inadequate system of advising, how will you choose your classes or your major? This is especially important at a large public university where students will need to reach out and ask for help.

Leigh Anne Spraetz

Student should assess if the campus is a “good fit.”

Students should ask about research and internship opportunities for freshmen, and about future assistance with the job search. They should try to attend a class or speak with an upperclassman who is majoring in their prospective major. Upon request, sometimes students can meet with a dean or faculty member from the department they are considering for their chosen major. They should also ask about the most common social opportunities for freshmen, and tour the local town. Finally, a student can ask about the typical learning style in classes for their intended major – is it lecture, discussion or experiential based?

Tyler Burton
President Burton College Tours

plan ahead

When I take students to visit a campus we go beyond the tour and info session. Elements of a complete campus visit include a meal in the dinning hall, sitting on a class, browsing the campus book store, reading the campus newspaper and bulletin boards and kicking back for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and doing some people watching. Take notes.

Annie Reznik
Counselor/CEO College Guidance Coach

3 Tips for Making the Most of a College Visit

1. Ask specific questions. Don’t throw your guide softballs like, “So, what are your most popular majors?” Instead, ask questions that will produce unique responses. Try asking, “What are some of your unique on campus traditions?” or “What’s your favorite thing to eat in the dining hall?” or “What type of student wouldn’t fit in here?” 2. Visit a class. The percentage of tour time spent on academics is paltry. But, academics are the point. Just because the website doesn’t advertise it, you can sit in on a class at almost any college that you visit. Before you visit, read through course descriptions. If something sparks your interest, contact the professor yourself and set up a time to sit in on the class. Or, visit a “signature” required course like Reed College’s Humanities 110. 3. Spend time on campus off the tour route. At most colleges, the tour showcases the best a school has to offer in under an hour. But, taking time to walk around areas off the route may help you to learn about the nuances of an institution. If you are able to see the entire campus on tour, go “off route” by people watching in the student center for 15 or 20 minutes. Overhearing student conversations, viewing the bulletin board announcements, and entrenching yourself in the culture of a school will help reveal distinguishing characteristics of any institution.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

Before You Go -- Ask Yourself:

Before you attend a campus visit, ask yourself what sorts of things you want out of college. By knowing yourself -- you can really streamline the college admissions journey for yourself and save time, money, and energy. Think about the kind of geographic location you are looking for in a college. Think about the subjects that interest you and new topics that you'd like to explore. Think about your personal, academic and career goals that you'd like to achieve in college. And finally, think about what kind of learner you are. Are you the kind of person who learns just fine in a large lecture setting or are you more comfortable in a small classroom setting with lots of discussion? Are you the kind of person who learns best by doing? Are you interested in research? Are you interested in traveling and studying abroad? Once you begin to know yourself better, you will be able to ask the questions that most relevant to you, your experience, and your priorities.

Erin Avery
Certified Educational Planner Avery Educational Resources, LLC

Try A Pair On

Finding the best college fit is like buying jeans. You must try them on, correct? Have you ever bought a pair of jeans without trying them on? Then why would you apply to a college you have never seen? You will be wearing that pair of jeans for the rest of your life. Translation: your college will remain on your resume for perpetuity. Think deeply about how important it is to you and your future to devote time, effort and resources to this process. While visiting, avoid visiting more than two campuses per day. It is exhausting and college tours begin to blur together. Take copious notes during and immediately following including first impressions. Try to envision what a day might look like if you were student at each college you visit. These refelctions will be valuable when you make decisions as well as when you write your common application supplemental essays (should your college accept the common app).

Christine Peterman
College Advisor Prep 4 Admission

Making the most of your campus visit

The biggest question is typically WHEN should I visit? I recommend students visit between the summer of your sophomore and junior year or the spring of your junior year. To get a sence of the different types of college environments, it maybe even a good idea to begin with any local colleges you have in your area. To begin, surfing the college website is the first thing I would suggest. Checking aout everything the site has to offer from online tours to students reviews, to college ratings, helps you get a "flavor" of the campus. Browsing the admissons office site or calling ahead is essential to an effecient visit. Most campus tours or information sessions require a pre-registration, so make sure you schedule and sign in at the admissions office. After doing some research online, arrive with a list of questions that you would like to have answered. Jot notes, or impressions you found on the website. It is important for an effective visit to try and visit when school is in session. Here, you could observe the campus in action, meet and talk to current students, get a vibe of the environment. While on campus keep an open mind and positive attitude. After the pre-arranged tour or information session, try to explore on your own. This is the chance to talk to students, sample the food, explore the student union, read the student bulletin boards, see what's going on during the weekends. Sometimes the admisisons office offer prospective students an opportunity to sit in on a class or even stay overnight. These opportunities give students an even deeper impression of the campus. If you are an athlete, this is a good time to schedule a visit with a college coach. College visits can be confusing and overwhelming. Be sure to capture some of your impressions with your smart phone.Take some photos, take notes, and maybe video certain areas.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Campus Visits

Campus visits are important. You should attend the Information Session and go on a College Tour. Check to see if you can interview as well! Do make sure you at least meet the admission representative who covers your territory for admissions. Make sure you appear independent and relaxed, don't let mom or dad upstage you in any way. (Parents, read my blog!) http://collegeadventures.net/blog/?s=parents+what+not+to+do+during+a+campus+visit If you are a senior you may be able to spend the night in a dorm. During the tour look for grounds that are maintained well, happy students, and plenty of light at night with call boxes for security. Look at the dorm rooms, the laundry facilities, cafeteria, and library. Look for information posted on bulletin boards, posters and fliers about activities, classes, trips, etc. Check out the makes of the cars parked on campus. While on campus pick up a newspaper, admission materials, etc. Ask intelligent questions!

Francine Schwartz
Founder/ President Pathfinder Counseling LLC

On the road to college

There is simply no better way to learn about whether or not a college is a good fit for you than to set foot on its campus. Try to arrive at a college the evening before so that you can have a look around the surrounding town or city, settle in and be fresh for your tour, information session, and/or interview the next day. Visit no more than one or two schools in any given day. Bring a camera to record your impressions - after a while schools may start to run together. Aside from the tour, information session and interview here are a few more things to do while on campus. Have a meal in the cafeteria. Visit the student center to observe the students in action. What type of clubs, activities, events are going on. Can you picture yourself living and studying among these students? Sit in on a class if available. You may have to schedule this in advance. Check out some areas that may not be on the tour such as the gym,theater or athletic facilities. Finally always send a thank you note or email to your tour guide, information session leader and interviewer. Schools keep track of demonstrated interest. Francine Schwartz M.A., LPC, NCC Founder and President Pathfinder Counseling LLC

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

I want to make the most of campus visits. What should I do, look for, and ask while I'm there?

you may want to know the class size, home work style and requirements, course selection, and student activities from the current student's point of view.