What are some tips for college visits?

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What are some tips for college visits?

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

What are some tips for college visits?

if you have your own counselor to work with you, your counselor may set up interviews with the admissions office and other people. that’s the best way to go. if you do not have a counselor, you should visit schools with other seniors or classmates to gain different perspectives. if your parents are helpful and able to share their perspectives with you, you should consider their inputs seriouly. if you have college friends, they can help you with their experiences as well.

Annie ReznikCounselor/CEOCollege Guidance Coach

3 Tips for College Visits

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.

Ellen [email protected]OwnerEllen Richards Admissions Consulting

Campus visits: dos and don’ts

The process of picking a school isn’t complete without the campus visit. Most colleges look pretty good as you flip through their glossy brochures and read statistics about their star students and athletes, but it’s important to inform yourself to make sure you’re getting the most trustworthy information. One of the best ways to do that is by visiting and touring the campus in person to get a feel for the atmosphere. Much can be accomplished during one of these excursions, and it’s important to plan well so you can get the most out of it. Taking a look at the following dos and don’ts will help ensure that you don’t waste your time. DON’T assume that you can take whatever time off you want to head to your chosen schools. DO check with the campus to see if they have special visiting days or events for prospective freshmen. DO check with your high school to see what their policy is regarding time off for campus visits. It doesn’t hurt to check with your parents as well to see if their vacation time can mesh with your high school’s policy. DON’T think you can see five colleges a day, five days a week, cover 8 different states and get anything useful out of your trip. If you’re going on a big road trip, DO plan on seeing no more than five colleges in three days, and plan well in terms of driving distances so you can figure out what schools are the most sensible to visit in a single trip or a single day. Plan hotel and motel reservations accordingly. Also, DO save the colleges that are one to two hours away from your house for day trips. DON’T just show up without doing any research on your destination or asking any questions at the visitors center. DO find out if you need an interview to apply for the college you’re visiting, so you can knock it out while you’re there. DO call the school a few days in advance to set up your visit, tour and interview, and have a list of two or three possible dates on which you can meet. DO find out what is on the tour, and, if there’s something you want to see that isn’t listed (classes, labs, sports facilities, theater, etc.), ask them if you can tour it, as well. DO ask if you can see professors from your prospective major, students that might share your same interests or coaches for your sport. You may have to call specific departments, but these meetings will be invaluable to you in deciding if this school is the place for you and meets your needs. DON’T forget to confirm your appointment. DO remember that colleges are busy places and you are not the only prospective student visiting that week or even that day. Call the day before to confirm your visit, tour and, if scheduled, your interview. DON’T forget to make sure everyone you met with remembers you. DO send your interviewer a thank-you note along with any professors, coaches or students you meet with. It’s a simple thing that makes you stand out. The perfect college visit allows you to simultaneously learn about the institution while they learn about you. Not only does that result in you being able to make a more informed decision about where to attend, the campus visit can allow the administration to see you in a new light, and when they receive your application, remember that this was a qualified student who was also very professional and interested in attending. Visiting the right way can only help you, as long as you take advantage of the opportunities available.

Helen H. ChoiOwnerAdmissions Mavens

Before you visit — ask yourself…

Before you visit a college — ask yourself a few questions about what YOU want in a college. Once you do this — you will be able to pinpoint the qualities that are important to you. 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.

Kim GlenchurEducational ConsultantCollegesGPS

Reflect on differences between colleges

When possible, visit a college during an academic term, when the normal campus rhythms of classes and dorm life are evident. Colleges have different student demographics, facilities, majors, programs, resources, and personalities. Extracurricular activities, academic support, social fit, cost, and the outcomes of a college’s graduates will likely factor into the search process. The basic question: If accepted, would the student flourish on that campus, studying and socializing for a few years until graduation?

Joyce Vining MorganFounder and college counselorEducational Transitions

What are some tips for college visits?

Keep yourself at the center of the visit: YOU call admissions to set up the visit. YOU ask the questions. YOU write the thank-you notes to the people who gave you their time and attention. Go prepared. Know what the college has already published in print and on their website, and create your own questions based on what they haven’t told you yet. Bring your questions and areas of interest written out (I create a printed form, with space for recording answers to each area of interest, but that may feel too geeky for you!). Start before the visit by adding all the information sent by the college and on the college website, then write down questions that those sources haven’t answered – those are the ones to ask. Then consider whether you would like to speak with a professor in your areas of interest, or a coach, or …. And email admissions to request that contact. When you get go the campus, do everything you can both to get your questions answered and to get beyond the college’s marketing: read bulletin boards wherever you find them, including the chalked. Stuff on the walkways if students do that on the campus. Eat in the dining room and check out everything there. Cruise the library, art studios, music practice rooms, gym. And see when they’re open and how people behave there. TALK to people: remember that most students have done what you’re doing, and don’t be shy. (“People” includes adults: are the librarians friendly? How about the dining hall staff, people in the book store? If you’re at all worried about campus safety, talk to the campus police …) Walk or drive through the area around the college.

Joyce Vining MorganFounder and college counselorEducational Transitions

What are some tips for college visits?

Keep yourself at the center of the visit: YOU call admissions to set up the visit. YOU ask the questions. YOU write the thank-you notes to the people who gave you their time and attention. Go prepared. Know what the college has already published in print and on their website, and create your own questions based on what they haven’t told you yet. Bring your questions and areas of interest written out (I create a printed form, with space for recording answers to each area of interest, but that may feel too geeky for you!). Start before the visit by adding all the information sent by the college and on the college website, then write down questions that those sources haven’t answered – those are the ones to ask. Then consider whether you would like to speak with a professor in your areas of interest, or a coach, or …. And email admissions to request that contact. When you get go the campus, do everything you can both to get your questions answered and to get beyond the college’s marketing: read bulletin boards wherever you find them, including the chalked. Stuff on the walkways if students do that on the campus. Eat in the dining room and check out everything there. Cruise the library, art studios, music practice rooms, gym. And see when they’re open and how people behave there. TALK to people: remember that most students have done what you’re doing, and don’t be shy. (“People” includes adults: are the librarians friendly? How about the dining hall staff, people in the book store? If you’re at all worried about campus safety, talk to the campus police …) Walk or drive through the area around the college.

Angela ConleyCollege Admission ExpertVentureForth

What are some tips for college visits?

When I take students to visit colleges, I tell them to look for what you don’t see. Are the folks who look alike all bunched together in the cafeteria? How large are the classes? Are visitors allowed to sit in on any “visitor” classes? Are the grounds and facilities well maintained? Do the tour guides seem rote or genuinely engaged by their alma mater? Are the guides paid employees or volunteers? Take the opportunity to talk to “random” students in the bookstore, library or cafeteria. Check out the age of the technology hubs available. Are the computers current and is the campus wireless? Is there any energy around the alumni house, if such exists? If alums aren’t returning, is it because they did not value or enjoy their experience? Are there signs advertising a campus radio station or student newswire? In what condition is the housing and is the campus secure with the requisite “blue light” system? Is faculty visible, apparent, aged or available for exchange? Is there evidence of town-gown tensions or collegiality? One campus in the Chicago area visited last year had a clear welcome and openness to their neighbors. I encourage students to know where you want to go based on other’s context, both apparent and implicit. This is of course in addition course offerings, diversity of faculty/staff/students and support resources such as a writing center. When all is said and done, did you feel welcome and energized during your time on campus?

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

It’s Not Just a Vibe Thing

Be purposeful. Before you spend boatloads of money and time to actually visit colleges, you should have done enough research to be able to know which of the questions below have not been answered to your satisfaction. In addition to these questions, I always encourage students to do some stream of consciousness writing at the end of the day when they are by themselves. This kind of expression reveals a great deal in terms of intuition and their emotional reaction to the visit, their comfort level, their concerns, etc. Not a bad idea for parents to do this, too. (But do it separately!) If you are visiting lots of colleges, this helps you document an important, non-quantifiable experience for future reference when comparing institutions. Admissions and or Financial Aid Counselor Meeting 1. What are the application options? Online app, institutional only, The Common App? 2. Are there separate parts of the application for Honors College, Arts or Theater performance components, athletes, scholarships? 3. Is there an Early Action, Early Decision or only regular admissions application processes? What are the specific requirements of each? If you choose EA or ED are you automatically rolled over to the regular admissions process or do you need to request it? 4. Is there an appeal process for EA or ED? Is there a general admissions decision appear process? 5. What is the application fee? Is there a discount for applying online, during the summer visit, for economically disadvantaged students? 6. Come prepared for this meeting with your income tax information from the previous year so they can give you a fair idea of how much you might be responsible for paying out of pocket. FA: How much of each students need is met by the college? How much does tuition increase on a yearly basis? How much debt does the typical student incur after four years? What is the job placement average for graduating students? Is there any guarantee for job or grad school placement? (Check out the NYTimes FA section: http://topics.nytimes.com/your-money/loans/student-loans/index.html) 7. Complete the college cost calculator with the college’s information http://www.nytimes.com//interactive/2009/04/14/your-money/20090415-college-calculator.html?ref=payingforcollege: Class Visit 8. What was student participation like? Did the students seem smart and engaged? Did you feel a desire to participate in the class discussion? 9. Did the students appear to respect the professor? Did he appear to have expertise in his academic discipline? 10. Did the professor treat her/his students respectfully? 11. Did the class teach you something new? Did you find the class challenging? Did the professor answer student questions to your (and the student’s) satisfaction? 12. How does the college incorporate new technology into the classroom setting? Skype? IM? FB? Twitter? Is it embraced and to what degree? Academic Department Visit 1. What was your impression of the rigor of the department? Did it seem challenging and energetic? Were they trying to sell you on their department, or were they trying to sell you on their field of study? Are they truly excited by what they are doing? 2. Is the academic department nationally ranked? By what ranking agency? Does this matter for your field? 3. Did the faculty and students appear to have positive and respectful interaction? 4. What are some of the independent projects that students are working on and how is faculty assisting them? 5. What does the department do to assist students in becoming connected with the work world post-graduation? How connected are they with professionals in their area of expertise outside the college/university? Where have students interned? Where have students gotten jobs? 6. What does the department do to assist students who are interested in continuing on to grad school? What grad schools have their students attended? 7. What is their academic advising like? Are they proactive in their interaction with students whose grades and homework show struggle? Or are students expected to succeed or fail on their own? Do students start off with faculty for advising or is there an advising center? Do students get assigned to a faculty member once they declare a major? Can a student select an advisor or is it assigned to them? How available are the advisors? Can you only see them during office hours or can you make an appointment? Do they give you their home phone number? 8. How easy or hard is it to get the classes you need to progress toward graduation in a timely manner? Do they guarantee four year graduation? If not, what % students graduate in four years? 9. Can you double major? 10. Many students discover interesting ways of combining different concepts and areas of interest within their degree program. What is the interdisciplinary work like within the major? How open is the department to helping you achieve your needs academically as you progress? How supportive are they of creative thinking? 11. Is the department equipped sufficiently and currently? Is there enough staff and department funding to maintain the equipment or space in such a way that there will be no deterioration within the time that you are a student? 12. What are the faculty office hours? Do the students in the program feel they have adequate access to faculty outside of the classroom? 13. What is the reality of the student/faculty ratio? 14. What projects/research is the faculty in the department working on? Is this of interest to you or is there enough diversity in the work going on with the faculty that you are confident that you would find a mentor? 15. How does the department interact with and support the activities of any associated clubs or organizations? 16. Is there a clear path to graduation? Is academic advising readily available and how accurate is it? How does the department work with the registrar’s office to ensure seamless and accurate academic progress and course choices? 17. Will you have to pay extra to receive academic credit for your internship(s)? Student Life 1. What is their orientation program like? Is there a first-year experience office or program at the college? What is the structure of the program? (common reading material, learning community, first-year seminar) What are the expected outcomes from this experience? How is it supposed to help you? Is it new or has it been in place for some time? What have been the results of their students having gone through the selected experience? Do you think it is comprehensive enough that you would be able to manage your first year or know where to go to seek the necessary help? 2. Do you see enough activities available that you would find a some activity in which to be involved? What are the ways that the college/university gives you the opportunity to learn about these activities/organizations? 3. What is the size of the college/university total? Are they going to grow in size in the coming years? If so, by how many students? Does it appear they could handle this growth and still service you as you would expect them to? If the college is large, how do they make it seem smaller/more manageable for you personally as a student? 4. Should you need emotional help or counseling, is there a safe and welcoming environment for this help on campus? 5. What is the college’s health system like? How many doctors and psychologists are available to assist the student body? Is there a decent hospital nearby? How close? Does the college provide health care coverage for their students? What does it cover? When does the parent health care kick in after the college/university provided care? ? What is the EMT response time? What is the relationship between campus health organizations and their comparable organizations in the town/city? 6. What is their judicial and community approach to binge drinking and/or drugs? What is the judicial approach to drug and alcohol abuse on campus? 7. What is their judicial and community approach to sexual assault issues on campus? What is the mechanism by which students report sexual assault and how does the college work with the town/city law enforcement operations and hospitals to combat and deal with sexual assault? 8. What is their judicial and community approach to bullying? Is there a mechanism for students to report bullying? 9. Do they assist in mediating roommate disputes? How easy is it to change roommates, rooms, or residence halls? 10. How easy or difficult is it to get to and from class? Is there a bus or shuttle system? Does the climate and/or campus size make getting to class or campus events easy or difficult? 11. How readily available is transportation to get you off campus to doctor’s appointments, community events, shopping, etc.? 12. How accessible is public transportation to and from airports and trains for travel home? Will the distance of the college from public transportation to major transportation options negatively impact your ability to get home for holidays or to see family? Will the cost of this transportation be prohibitive? 13. What do current students say about their college? What does their body language say when you ask them about their college? 14. What’s on the bulletin boards? What events are being announced? What kind of activism is present on campus? Does the club you are interested appear to be active? 15. What does the student newspaper report about the college? Does the newspaper reflect a concern about college fiscal issues, social problems, etc.? Does it celebrate student and faculty achievement? Does it give you a positive or negative impression of the college? (Remember to consider this information with caution. This gives you a flavor of the campus but sometimes the student newspaper can be very one sided. Use this as one source of many to understand the climate of the campus). 16. If you plan on using the fitness center, does it appear to be well maintained and clean? Is the equipment current? How crowded is the fitness center and at what times of day? Do they have on-site managers and trainers to ensure safety and appropriate etiquette? 17. Does the college provide opportunities to participate in activities off-campus such as visiting the local mall, city, sports events, out-door activities such as skiing, rock-climbing etc.? 18. Is the dining hall clean, well maintained, and well run? Does the staff seem polite and happy? Do the students eating in the dining hall seem happy? Do they serve healthy options? Do they offer a variety of meal options for students with special dietary needs, such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, Kosher etc.? 19. Does the student center seem orderly and well maintained? Does it have all the amenities you would need, such as toiletries (in the student store)? 20. Does the library meet your academic and personal needs? Are there quiet areas for studying? Are there areas for group study? Are their media collections and equipment well maintained and current? What are the library’s hours? Is there sufficient transportation or an escort program to ensure that you are able to travel safely to and from the library at all hours? 21. Is there a security team or police force presence on campus? How does the campus security team work with town/city law enforcement agencies? What is the response time to assaults or crises? 22. What is the college’s response to the current national trend of increased mental illness among first-year students? What mechanisms are in place to handle concerns of friends, roommates, etc. Would you be able to make a confidential request for help for a friend or a roommate? Would your concerns for your own mental and emotional health (perhaps stressed induced) be respected and responded to by the RHDs, RAs, administration, and health service? 23. Are there clearly articulated steps and authorities for handling crises of any kind? Are these steps made clear to all students, faculty, staff, and administration, and if these steps are taken by a student, is that student’s concerns respected? 24. Does the college present safety training exercises? 25. What are the details about the college’s cell campus-wide crisis alert system? Do they have a text message alert system? 26. What is the campus like on the weekends? Are there enough students that remain on campus to keep it interesting and fun? 27. Does the career center offer guidance regarding internships? Will they continue to work with students after they graduate? 28. What will the climate be during the time you will be on campus during the school year (August/September through April/May)? Does the climate/geographical location of the college suit your personal desires? 29. Do they offer support services and/or groups for other students with your particular personal needs (LGBT, therapy, learning disabilities, etc.)? College Infrastructure 1. Are student services all located in a central place? Do you have to travel to distant parts of campus to deal with financial issues, registrar, parking tickets, etc.? 2. What is the demeanor of the staff? Do they seem to have a positive attitude? Do they appear to respect and like the students? 3. If you had occasion to interact with staff, were they welcoming to you? Do they seem patient with the students they interact with, or are they impatient? 4. Is the college’s Internet and computer technology current? Do they have enough funding and staff to maintain and support students’ tech needs? If a student has trouble with a computer or the Internet, what is the response time for repair? What is the IT staff like? Are they respectful and eager to help, or are they difficult to deal with? What is the mechanism for reporting a difficulty? 5. How many students each year are unable to graduate because they are missing one or two credits (when they were consistently advised otherwise)? How does the college ensure that this does not happen? When you are done with these questions, jot down general notes, such as the following: Positives; Negatives & Concerns; What matters to you and does this college meet those requirements?; What do you need to learn more about?

Rana SlosbergOwnerSlosberg College Solutions LLC

College visit tips

In addition to attending a tour and going to an information session, see what else you can learn about the campus: — Arrange to sit in on a class — Read bulletin board to see what is happening on campus — Try the food in the cafeteria — Read the school newspaper — See what the neighboring community is like — Talk with random students — If possible, stay overnight with a current student

Corey FischerPresidentCollegeClarity

Have an open mind

It amazes me when a family goes to visit a college and then never gets out of the car because they saw one thing that did not click. If you are there, give the place a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised. If you have done your research in the first place, you would not be making a visit to a college that did not interest you for some reason. There have been plenty of times that I have visited colleges and have been put off by the appearance going into campus or by the tour guide, but when I put that aside, everything else was fine. Talk with students you see around, talk with faculty members, pick up the student newspaper to see what the current hot topics/issues are. Keep notes of your impressions so you don’t forget what you liked or did not like about each college.

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

It’s Not Just a Vibe Thing

Short Answer: Do your homework and be purposeful. Detailed Answer: Before you spend boatloads of money and time to actually visit colleges, you should have done enough research to be able to know which of the questions below have not been answered to your satisfaction. In addition to these questions, I always encourage students to do some stream of consciousness writing at the end of the day when they are by themselves. This kind of expression reveals a great deal in terms of intuition and their emotional reaction to the visit, their comfort level, their concerns, etc. Not a bad idea for parents to do this, too. (But do it separately!) If you are visiting lots of colleges, this helps you document an important, non-quantifiable experience for future reference when comparing institutions. Admissions and or Financial Aid Counselor Meeting 1. What are the application options? Online app, institutional only, The Common App? 2. Are there separate parts of the application for Honors College, Arts or Theater performance components, athletes, scholarships? 3. Is there an Early Action, Early Decision or only regular admissions application processes? What are the specific requirements of each? If you choose EA or ED are you automatically rolled over to the regular admissions process or do you need to request it? 4. Is there an appeal process for EA or ED? Is there a general admissions decision appear process? 5. What is the application fee? Is there a discount for applying online, during the summer visit, for economically disadvantaged students? 6. Come prepared for this meeting with your income tax information from the previous year so they can give you a fair idea of how much you might be responsible for paying out of pocket. FA: How much of each students need is met by the college? How much does tuition increase on a yearly basis? How much debt does the typical student incur after four years? What is the job placement average for graduating students? Is there any guarantee for job or grad school placement? (Check out the NYTimes FA section: http://topics.nytimes.com/your-money/loans/student-loans/index.html) 7. Complete the college cost calculator with the college’s information http://www.nytimes.com//interactive/2009/04/14/your-money/20090415-college-calculator.html?ref=payingforcollege: Class Visit 8. What was student participation like? Did the students seem smart and engaged? Did you feel a desire to participate in the class discussion? 9. Did the students appear to respect the professor? Did he appear to have expertise in his academic discipline? 10. Did the professor treat her/his students respectfully? 11. Did the class teach you something new? Did you find the class challenging? Did the professor answer student questions to your (and the student’s) satisfaction? 12. How does the college incorporate new technology into the classroom setting? Skype? IM? FB? Twitter? Is it embraced and to what degree? Academic Department Visit 1. What was your impression of the rigor of the department? Did it seem challenging and energetic? Were they trying to sell you on their department, or were they trying to sell you on their field of study? Are they truly excited by what they are doing? 2. Is the academic department nationally ranked? By what ranking agency? Does this matter for your field? 3. Did the faculty and students appear to have positive and respectful interaction? 4. What are some of the independent projects that students are working on and how is faculty assisting them? 5. What does the department do to assist students in becoming connected with the work world post-graduation? How connected are they with professionals in their area of expertise outside the college/university? Where have students interned? Where have students gotten jobs? 6. What does the department do to assist students who are interested in continuing on to grad school? What grad schools have their students attended? 7. What is their academic advising like? Are they proactive in their interaction with students whose grades and homework show struggle? Or are students expected to succeed or fail on their own? Do students start off with faculty for advising or is there an advising center? Do students get assigned to a faculty member once they declare a major? Can a student select an advisor or is it assigned to them? How available are the advisors? Can you only see them during office hours or can you make an appointment? Do they give you their home phone number? 8. How easy or hard is it to get the classes you need to progress toward graduation in a timely manner? Do they guarantee four year graduation? If not, what % students graduate in four years? 9. Can you double major? 10. Many students discover interesting ways of combining different concepts and areas of interest within their degree program. What is the interdisciplinary work like within the major? How open is the department to helping you achieve your needs academically as you progress? How supportive are they of creative thinking? 11. Is the department equipped sufficiently and currently? Is there enough staff and department funding to maintain the equipment or space in such a way that there will be no deterioration within the time that you are a student? 12. What are the faculty office hours? Do the students in the program feel they have adequate access to faculty outside of the classroom? 13. What is the reality of the student/faculty ratio? 14. What projects/research is the faculty in the department working on? Is this of interest to you or is there enough diversity in the work going on with the faculty that you are confident that you would find a mentor? 15. How does the department interact with and support the activities of any associated clubs or organizations? 16. Is there a clear path to graduation? Is academic advising readily available and how accurate is it? How does the department work with the registrar’s office to ensure seamless and accurate academic progress and course choices? 17. Will you have to pay extra to receive academic credit for your internship(s)? Student Life 1. What is their orientation program like? Is there a first-year experience office or program at the college? What is the structure of the program? (common reading material, learning community, first-year seminar) What are the expected outcomes from this experience? How is it supposed to help you? Is it new or has it been in place for some time? What have been the results of their students having gone through the selected experience? Do you think it is comprehensive enough that you would be able to manage your first year or know where to go to seek the necessary help? 2. Do you see enough activities available that you would find a some activity in which to be involved? What are the ways that the college/university gives you the opportunity to learn about these activities/organizations? 3. What is the size of the college/university total? Are they going to grow in size in the coming years? If so, by how many students? Does it appear they could handle this growth and still service you as you would expect them to? If the college is large, how do they make it seem smaller/more manageable for you personally as a student? 4. Should you need emotional help or counseling, is there a safe and welcoming environment for this help on campus? 5. What is the college’s health system like? How many doctors and psychologists are available to assist the student body? Is there a decent hospital nearby? How close? Does the college provide health care coverage for their students? What does it cover? When does the parent health care kick in after the college/university provided care? ? What is the EMT response time? What is the relationship between campus health organizations and their comparable organizations in the town/city? 6. What is their judicial and community approach to binge drinking and/or drugs? What is the judicial approach to drug and alcohol abuse on campus? 7. What is their judicial and community approach to sexual assault issues on campus? What is the mechanism by which students report sexual assault and how does the college work with the town/city law enforcement operations and hospitals to combat and deal with sexual assault? 8. What is their judicial and community approach to bullying? Is there a mechanism for students to report bullying? 9. Do they assist in mediating roommate disputes? How easy is it to change roommates, rooms, or residence halls? 10. How easy or difficult is it to get to and from class? Is there a bus or shuttle system? Does the climate and/or campus size make getting to class or campus events easy or difficult? 11. How readily available is transportation to get you off campus to doctor’s appointments, community events, shopping, etc.? 12. How accessible is public transportation to and from airports and trains for travel home? Will the distance of the college from public transportation to major transportation options negatively impact your ability to get home for holidays or to see family? Will the cost of this transportation be prohibitive? 13. What do current students say about their college? What does their body language say when you ask them about their college? 14. What’s on the bulletin boards? What events are being announced? What kind of activism is present on campus? Does the club you are interested appear to be active? 15. What does the student newspaper report about the college? Does the newspaper reflect a concern about college fiscal issues, social problems, etc.? Does it celebrate student and faculty achievement? Does it give you a positive or negative impression of the college? (Remember to consider this information with caution. This gives you a flavor of the campus but sometimes the student newspaper can be very one sided. Use this as one source of many to understand the climate of the campus). 16. If you plan on using the fitness center, does it appear to be well maintained and clean? Is the equipment current? How crowded is the fitness center and at what times of day? Do they have on-site managers and trainers to ensure safety and appropriate etiquette? 17. Does the college provide opportunities to participate in activities off-campus such as visiting the local mall, city, sports events, out-door activities such as skiing, rock-climbing etc.? 18. Is the dining hall clean, well maintained, and well run? Does the staff seem polite and happy? Do the students eating in the dining hall seem happy? Do they serve healthy options? Do they offer a variety of meal options for students with special dietary needs, such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, Kosher etc.? 19. Does the student center seem orderly and well maintained? Does it have all the amenities you would need, such as toiletries (in the student store)? 20. Does the library meet your academic and personal needs? Are there quiet areas for studying? Are there areas for group study? Are their media collections and equipment well maintained and current? What are the library’s hours? Is there sufficient transportation or an escort program to ensure that you are able to travel safely to and from the library at all hours? 21. Is there a security team or police force presence on campus? How does the campus security team work with town/city law enforcement agencies? What is the response time to assaults or crises? 22. What is the college’s response to the current national trend of increased mental illness among first-year students? What mechanisms are in place to handle concerns of friends, roommates, etc. Would you be able to make a confidential request for help for a friend or a roommate? Would your concerns for your own mental and emotional health (perhaps stressed induced) be respected and responded to by the RHDs, RAs, administration, and health service? 23. Are there clearly articulated steps and authorities for handling crises of any kind? Are these steps made clear to all students, faculty, staff, and administration, and if these steps are taken by a student, is that student’s concerns respected? 24. Does the college present safety training exercises? 25. What are the details about the college’s cell campus-wide crisis alert system? Do they have a text message alert system? 26. What is the campus like on the weekends? Are there enough students that remain on campus to keep it interesting and fun? 27. Does the career center offer guidance regarding internships? Will they continue to work with students after they graduate? 28. What will the climate be during the time you will be on campus during the school year (August/September through April/May)? Does the climate/geographical location of the college suit your personal desires? 29. Do they offer support services and/or groups for other students with your particular personal needs (LGBT, therapy, learning disabilities, etc.)? College Infrastructure 1. Are student services all located in a central place? Do you have to travel to distant parts of campus to deal with financial issues, registrar, parking tickets, etc.? 2. What is the demeanor of the staff? Do they seem to have a positive attitude? Do they appear to respect and like the students? 3. If you had occasion to interact with staff, were they welcoming to you? Do they seem patient with the students they interact with, or are they impatient? 4. Is the college’s Internet and computer technology current? Do they have enough funding and staff to maintain and support students’ tech needs? If a student has trouble with a computer or the Internet, what is the response time for repair? What is the IT staff like? Are they respectful and eager to help, or are they difficult to deal with? What is the mechanism for reporting a difficulty? 5. How many students each year are unable to graduate because they are missing one or two credits (when they were consistently advised otherwise)? How does the college ensure that this does not happen? When you are done with these questions, jot down general notes, such as the following: Positives; Negatives & Concerns; What matters to you and does this college meet those requirements?; What do you need to learn more about?

Tam Warner MintonConsultantCollege Adventures

Things to look for on college visits

Happy students! Engaged students! Watch how students spend their time: studying, partying, socializing, exercising…Make sure you visit when school is in session. Get a map of campus and drive around/walk around. Take the campus tour (yes, you MUST take the campus tour). Take a notebook and write down your first impressions. Look at the library, classrooms, dorms, and fields. Is the college well lit? Is it well groomed? Are there call boxes in case of an emergency on campus? Of course, all students want to see the food courts. Buildings should be attractive and well kept, no matter how old they are. The people should be friendly. It is not unusual for the neighborhood around the school to be run down, don’t worry about that. Colleges in those areas usually participate in service projects in the neighborhood. Check out the distance from the dorm to classrooms and labs. Look at the makes of the cars parked on campus. While on campus pick up a newspaper, admission materials, etc. Be sure to write down what you think about the school immediately after the visit, while it is still fresh.

Laura O’Brien GatzionisFounderEducational Advisory Services

Notice Little Details

Create a template for your college visits that you can complete as you go or while you are leaving the campus. Take lots of photos (including one with the name of the college appearing). Talk to students while visiting. Eat in the cafeteria. Check out the bookstore. Look at the events on the bulletin boards. Go by the career and counseling office and see if there are internships on offer. Ask about support services–peer tutoring for example or a writing lab. Notice if the physical plant is in good condition. Ask about safety measures–is there a blue light system, are there special arrangements for late at night?

kati swansonCounselorTMCC HS

Getting the most out of your college visit

You have spent time researching institutions and you have narrowed down your list of possible colleges, it is time to experience these institutions first hand. To get the most out of your visit make sure you have researched the institution thoroughly. A few weeks before your visit call the admissions office and make an appointment to take a tour, meet with an admission representative or attend an information session. Visit the campus when school is in session, campuses have a much different feel when they are full of students. Prepare a list of questions ahead of the visit, using the same questions at several institutions will allow you to compare colleges. Ask if they have an overnight visiting opportunity, spending the night will really give you a feel for the school. Bottom line research the school, call ahead to make arrangements and make a list of questions before the visit.

Erin AveryCertified Educational PlannerAvery Educational Resources, LLC

Tips of the Trade

Review the mission statement of each college prior to visiting. Look for how the college is implementing the ideals set forth in its mission statement. Authenticity is a sure sign that the institution will deliver on its promises.

Nancy MilneOwnerMilne Collegiate Consulting

College Visit Tips

A visit to campus is the chance to get a feel for the vibe of the school. Pick a class of interest and sit in on the lecture/discussion. See if you can connect with a faculty member in your area of interest. Have a meal in the cafeteria and initiate conversation with your table mates. Pick up the school newspaper to read when you get home. Pay attention to bulletin board postings, student activity tables, library traffic. Try to get a sense for how engaged the students are on campus. Do folks stay around on the weekend, if so what do they do? Make sure the residence halls look like a place you’d feel good about going home to after a tough day of classes. If recreation is important to you, are you pleased with the facilities? And most of all, if possible see if you can spend an overnight on campus. That is when you’ll really see what goes on.

Nancy MilneOwnerMilne Collegiate Consulting

College Visit Tips

A visit to campus is the chance to get a feel for the vibe of the school. Pick a class of interest and sit in on the lecture/discussion. See if you can connect with a faculty member in your area of interest. Have a meal in the cafeteria and initiate conversation with your table mates. Pick up the school newspaper to read when you get home. Pay attention to bulletin board postings, student activity tables, library traffic. Try to get a sense for how engaged the students are on campus. Do folks stay around on the weekend, if so what do they do? Make sure the residence halls look like a place you’d feel good about going home to after a tough day of classes. If recreation is important to you, are you pleased with the facilities? And most of all, if possible see if you can spend an overnight on campus. That is when you’ll really see what goes on.

Donna LandrethHS Counselor/Educational ConsultantFounder and Owner of Expert College Planning

College Visit Suggestions

I would suggest keeping a journal for each college visit. Make notes as to what you liked…..what you didn’t like……note anything that stood out to you too. Write down the contact names of the school officials you meet and talk to during your visit. This may come in handy when completing your applications. Also….does the school specialize in the career area you are interested in? Talk to students on campus and make sure you visit the dorms or residence halls. I would also keep a separate folder for each school, so that you can refer to the information at a later date. Schools tend to blend together after time passes and this can be helpful when making decisions in the spring.

Kathryn Lento

What are some tips for college visits?

While tours & info sessions are useful, after a while they all sound the same and most visit the same spots on campus. **Build in enough time to see the things that are important to you…maybe it is the art studios or science labs? **Spend time at places where students hang out. Just observe how students interact. What are they wearing? Do they seem happy, anxious? **Write down your impressions of the college right away. After a number of visits, campuses tend to morph together. What stood out? Could you see yourself there?

Reecy ArestyCollege Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & AuthorPayless For College, Inc.

What are some tips for college visits?

Make sure it when school is in session. try to arrange a meeting with a chairman of a dept you plan to study under, and a meeting with the provost can enhance your chances immensely. Talk to current students and ask pointed questions, and be sure to stay out of the financial aid office.

Mark GathercoleUniversity AdvisorIndependent University Advising

What are some tips for college visits?

1. When you’re visiting several colleges during the same trip, and you’re getting toward the end and they all seem to say the same things, and yo’re getting a little tired of it all – hang in there. One of my students who visited 19 campuses during a ten-day trip from overseas told me that she stayed focused all the way through because, as she said, “I figured that the next one might be THE one for me, and I didn’t want to miss it.” 2. Take photos and take notes during the visits; then each night, write your reactions to the school in a journal. This will come in very, very handy two months later. 3. Parents and students might think about taking different tours, and comparing notes later. If you do take the same tours, try to keep your reactions to yourselves until afterwards – then compare notes. 4. Before or after the tour, eat breakfast or lunch somewhere on campus. Ask current students what they like and don’t like about the school. Don’t ask IF they like it, but WHY they like it. Come up with two or three questions to ask at every college and ask them of the tour guide and random students you meet. 5. Have fun!

Mark GathercoleUniversity AdvisorIndependent University Advising

What are some tips for college visits?

1. When you’re visiting several colleges during the same trip, and you’re getting toward the end and they all seem to say the same things, and yo’re getting a little tired of it all – hang in there. One of my students who visited 19 campuses during a ten-day trip from overseas told me that she stayed focused all the way through because, as she said, “I figured that the next one might be THE one for me, and I didn’t want to miss it.” 2. Take photos and take notes during the visits; then each night, write your reactions to the school in a journal. This will come in very, very handy two months later. 3. Parents and students might think about taking different tours, and comparing notes later. If you do take the same tours, try to keep your reactions to yourselves until afterwards – then compare notes. 4. Before or after the tour, eat breakfast or lunch somewhere on campus. Ask current students what they like and don’t like about the school. Don’t ask IF they like it, but WHY they like it. Come up with two or three questions to ask at every college and ask them of the tour guide and random students you meet. 5. Have fun!

Megan DorseySAT Prep & College AdvisorCollege Prep LLC

What are some tips for college visits?

Before I visit, I go online and schedule my trip through the admissions office and spend some time learning about the school. I like to have a picture of the university in my mind, so I know what to expect: size, location (urban, suburban, rural), top programs, unique features, cost, type of students, and overall feel. On the day of my visit, I try to arrive early and drive around. This lets me see where I need to check-in and I can begin making a mental map of the campus. At this time, I like to see the area surrounding the school. There are some schools that are gorgeous, but if you venture two blocks from campus, the surrounding neighborhood is questionable. I like to arrive ten minutes early for the information session, so I can begin looking over any materials and get ready to take notes. I write a lot during the information sessions because I know I won’t remember the details if I wait until the end of the day. Anything that seems to distinguish the university from other schools is worth jotting down. I also like to record all admission statistics—scores, requirements, deadlines, etc. I take a lot of pictures wherever I go. After a couple of college visits, universities begin to look the same. Taking pictures helps me remember. My first picture of every campus includes the name of the school, even if I have to snap a photo of a brochure or campus map. This helps if I’m visiting a number of schools on one trip because I can easily tell where one series of pictures ends and the next begins. As the tour concludes, I make sure I’ve had a chance to ask all my questions. What I do next varies. If I have an appointment to meet with an admissions officer, it is usually after the tour. This is when you may have an interview or appointment with a particular department. If I have any remaining questions, I ask before I leave the admissions office.

Randi HeathmanIndependent Educational ConsultantThe Equestrian College Advisor LLC

What are some tips for college visits?

The best two tips I give to all of my families when they head out to visit campuses are the following: (1) Make time while you’re there to talk to students who don’t work for the admission office. Head over to the dining hall, the student union, or even the library and strike up a conversation with students you meet there. They are far more likely to give you a REAL take on their college experience – and if it’s a positive one, you can be that much more excited about the school! (2) Never leave campus without the contact information for at least ONE person whom you can call or email later with the questions that will inevitably come up. It might be your admission counselor or a faculty member or a program director you spoke with – just make sure that you have a way to get back in touch at a later date or when you set up a return visit. (And don’t hesitate to send that person – or people! – a thank you note when you get home. They’ll no doubt remember you later if you go that extra mile!)

Ronald Harris

What are some tips for college visits?

Explore on Your Own. Read the Bulletin Boards. Eat in the Dining Hall. Visit a Class in Your Major. Schedule a Conference With a Professor. Talk to students.

Brooke Singleton

What are some tips for college visits?

Write out your questions before coming on your college visit! What you feel is important and what you feel you really need to know. Like where is the financial aid office or Where are the counselors located at? Your questions can even include the surrounding area: maybe you want to get a part time job or you wanna know where the local park is. It’s important to ask these questions while you physically have someone in front of you to answer them. Also if possible venture out check out your surroundings, go look at the dorms, the cafe, ask about the bookstore and how hard it is or isnt to get the books you will need for class. Try to plan yourr visit with a member of the college who can walk you around the campus and show you were everything is. Grab a map if you feel like it will be a college you will attend. I would say just don’t go in there without a plan!

Patty Finer

What are some tips for college visits?

Be prepared. Have a notebook. Have a list of things you want to know..

Sarah ContomichalosManagerEducational Advisory Services, LLC

What are some tips for college visits?

The more legwork or preparation you do before your visit the more you will get out of your visit. Do you know any current students that you could contact before you arrive and arrange to meet while you are on campus? The student can show you their dorm room and give you an honest assessment of the food or even have you for a meal which you won’t get on the tour. They can describe their workload and accesibility of the professors. When you research a college see if there are any special programs that are of particular interest to you and ask ahead of time if you can sit in on a class or meet current students in the program. I am a fan of visiting fewer colleges for a longer visits than drive by visits of many colleges. I also recommend that your visits include diverse colleges in terms of size, setting (urban versus rural), and selectivity vis a vis your academic profile.

Rohit GoyalIvy League CounselorHarvard University

What are some tips for college visits?

Lab facilities, Meeting the professors and their students, learning about college culture and life, sport facilities, promotion to entrepreneurship , student activities and always to learn about history of college. Seek inspiration from top alumini.

Kris HintzFounderPosition U 4 College LLC

What are some tips for college visits?

Play the role of an anthropologist, observing a new culture. Sit in a campus eaterie or hang out on the green. Watch the students. What are they wearing? What are they talking about? Do they seem enthusiastic and engaged, or cold and isolated? Do they seem shallow, intellectual, school-spirited? Homogenous or diverse? As Yogi Berra once said, “You can observe a lot just by watching.” Most importantly, ask yourself this question: can you picture yourself here, with these kids, for the next four (transformative) years of your life?

Geoff BroomeAssistant Director of AdmissionsWidener University

What are some tips for college visits?

Please don’t ask anything that can be found by looking the information up. This is your chance to really gain the student perspective. Ask questions that relate to you as the learner or you as the potential student. Look for verification as to why a particular school is on your list. Ask questions that provide proof that what you are looking at is the real deal. Eat in the cafeteria. Pull a student or professor aside and ask them what they think of the school and if they like where the school is headed with their vision.

Geoff BroomeAssistant Director of AdmissionsWidener University

What are some tips for college visits?

Please don’t ask anything that can be found by looking the information up. This is your chance to really gain the student perspective. Ask questions that relate to you as the learner or you as the potential student. Look for verification as to why a particular school is on your list. Ask questions that provide proof that what you are looking at is the real deal. Eat in the cafeteria. Pull a student or professor aside and ask them what they think of the school and if they like where the school is headed with their vision.

Karen Ekman-BaurDirector of College CounselingLeysin American School

What are some tips for college visits?

I submitted this same answer in response to another question, which was asking what to do, ask, and look for during a college visit. It provides a number of useful tips for your college visits. Most successful campus visits are centered around an information session and a campus tour. It is also sometimes possible to schedule a personal interview with a member of the admissions staff or with academic or sports staff in areas which are significant to you. Information about when information sessions and tours are scheduled can be found on the websites of most schools. You can then schedule an interview that correlates with those pre-scheduled events. Some admissions offices do not offer interview options, however. You might also consider arranging an overnight stay in one of the dorms. Contact the admissions office to see if/how this can be set up. You would be paired up with a current student and would have the opportunity to get a much better understanding of student life at that school. The information session, usually led by one of the admissions officers, will provide input on institutional offerings, application requirements and procedures, and other areas of general interest. The information sessions are typically followed by a question and answer period. This will be a chance for you to ask about issues of particular relevance to you. Do your research ahead of time, so that your questions will be appropriate to the institution, and be sure not to ask a question that the admissions officer just answered in his/her presentation. That doesn’t make a very good impression. You should feel free, however, to ask about points that were not clear to you. It’s best not to ask questions that are very specific to you. These would be better addressed privately with an admissions officer – either in an interview situation or informally, after the information session. The campus tour, which usually lasts from an hour to an hour and a half, will most often be led by a current student or recent graduate of the school. You will probably be taken to most of the important academic departmental buildings, dormitories, sports facilities, performance facilities, the library, etc. This will be a good chance for you to ask questions about any of the facilities that are of particular interest to you and to get a better sense of what life is like for a student on campus. Ask anything you wonder about. Ideally, you would be able to visit the school during a time when classes are in session, so that you could get a feel for the campus “vibes”. Unfortunately, however, the time when you’re free to visit will often be when school is not in session at the colleges/universities. But, never mind, you can still learn a lot on the tour even if the campus is not teeming with students. As you’re touring the school, try to imagine yourself in that environment. Would you feel comfortable and happy? Most of the schools you visit will have some kind of building/renovation projects underway. At least that’s been my experience. That’s a good sign. A “red flag” should go up if you see many buildings which are run-down and if the campus does not seem to be well cared for. If you do arrange an interview, this will be a chance for you to present yourself personally – your prior accomplishments, your interests, your abilities. You will be able to ask any questions which relate very specifically to you. Some schools say that their interviews are just for the exchange of information and will not be part of your evaluation. Others require or recommend (read that as “require”) an interview as part of their admissions evaluation procedure. Remember that the impression you make will be based on things other than just your prior academic and extracurricular accomplishments – things such as whether you choose to dress appropriately, how you speak, your level of confidence, your manners, and so on. Keep in mind that you may be able to arrange interviews with members of academic departments in which you are interested. You would always want to go into those interviews with a good understanding of the departments as they are configured in each school, as well as gathering some background information about the person with whom you’ll be speaking. If you are a talented athlete and hope to continue a sport in college, you will probably want to arrange interviews with the relevant coaches.

Karen Ekman-BaurDirector of College CounselingLeysin American School

What are some tips for college visits?

I submitted this same answer in response to another question, which was asking what to do, look for, and ask when visiting a college. It provides a number of useful tips for your college visits. Most successful campus visits are centered around an information session and a campus tour. It is also sometimes possible to schedule a personal interview with a member of the admissions staff or with academic or sports staff in areas which are significant to you. Information about when information sessions and tours are scheduled can be found on the websites of most schools. You can then schedule an interview that correlates with those pre-scheduled events. Some admissions offices do not offer interview options, however. You might also consider arranging an overnight stay in one of the dorms. Contact the admissions office to see if/how this can be set up. You would be paired up with a current student and would have the opportunity to get a much better understanding of student life at that school. The information session, usually led by one of the admissions officers, will provide input on institutional offerings, application requirements and procedures, and other areas of general interest. The information sessions are typically followed by a question and answer period. This will be a chance for you to ask about issues of particular relevance to you. Do your research ahead of time, so that your questions will be appropriate to the institution, and be sure not to ask a question that the admissions officer just answered in his/her presentation. That doesn’t make a very good impression. You should feel free, however, to ask about points that were not clear to you. It’s best not to ask questions that are very specific to you. These would be better addressed privately with an admissions officer – either in an interview situation or informally, after the information session. The campus tour, which usually lasts from an hour to an hour and a half, will most often be led by a current student or recent graduate of the school. You will probably be taken to most of the important academic departmental buildings, dormitories, sports facilities, performance facilities, the library, etc. This will be a good chance for you to ask questions about any of the facilities that are of particular interest to you and to get a better sense of what life is like for a student on campus. Ask anything you wonder about. Ideally, you would be able to visit the school during a time when classes are in session, so that you could get a feel for the campus “vibes”. Unfortunately, however, the time when you’re free to visit will often be when school is not in session at the colleges/universities. But, never mind, you can still learn a lot on the tour even if the campus is not teeming with students. As you’re touring the school, try to imagine yourself in that environment. Would you feel comfortable and happy? Most of the schools you visit will have some kind of building/renovation projects underway. At least that’s been my experience. That’s a good sign. A “red flag” should go up if you see many buildings which are run-down and if the campus does not seem to be well cared for. If you do arrange an interview, this will be a chance for you to present yourself personally – your prior accomplishments, your interests, your abilities. You will be able to ask any questions which relate very specifically to you. Some schools say that their interviews are just for the exchange of information and will not be part of your evaluation. Others require or recommend (read that as “require”) an interview as part of their admissions evaluation procedure. Remember that the impression you make will be based on things other than just your prior academic and extracurricular accomplishments – things such as whether you choose to dress appropriately, how you speak, your level of confidence, your manners, and so on. Keep in mind that you may be able to arrange interviews with members of academic departments in which you are interested. You would always want to go into those interviews with a good understanding of the departments as they are configured in each school, as well as gathering some background information about the person with whom you’ll be speaking. If you are a talented athlete and hope to continue a sport in college, you will probably want to arrange interviews with the relevant coaches.

Bill PrudenHead of Upper School, College CounselorRavenscroft School

What are some tips for college visits?

To get the most out of a visit you need to go prepared. Do some advance research so that you can ask questions that yield information that goes beyond what is offered on the tour. The school has its message, but you need to know as much as you can so as to be sure it is the right place for you. Ask about program, about financial aid, the make-up of the student body, the realities of the social life, and grad school placement rates. It is all relevant to your ultimate decision, and they should welcome your desire to get to know it as well as you can. Too, go beyond the tour—go to the student center talk to students walking by and ask about life on campus. They are living the experience–get their thoughts. If you have the time, try to sit in on a class. That can give you some great insight, as well.

Heather TomaselloWriting CoachThe EssayLady, LLC

What are some tips for college visits?

College visits are a great way to determine if the school is a good fit for you, but don’t stop with the standard tour! Contact the admissions office in advance and ask if you can shadow a student for a day and night (including staying in a dorm, if possible.) I know that the university where I worked had a program like this as well as Open House days where we held Q&A panels with current students, the ability to sit in on a freshman-level course, to visit the student union, and other great “day in the life of” experiences for prospective students. This is my short list of must-see’s when you visit a campus: Visit the dorm and ask, “Could I see myself living here?” Visit the library. “Could I see myself studying here?” Visit the football stadium. “Could I see myself cheering here?” Visit the cafeteria. “Could I see myself eating here?” Visit the Student Union. “Could I see myself hanging out here with friends?” Visit a class. “Could I see myself learning here?” Walk across the quad. “Could I see myself calling this place ‘home?’”

Karen O’Neill, MSEdCounselorKSO College Counselling

What are some tips for college visits?

Take the tour. Go to the information sessions. Request a specialized tour (if available) for a particular program or department that you think you might want to declare as your major. Ask for an interview with an Admissions Officer and prepare for it. (another post) THEN – the real work begins. Go to the student center and have a sandwich or cup of joe. Eavesdrop shamelessly. try to get the vide. Look at the students and how they walk, talk, dress. Do they look like people you would want to become friends with? Too artsy? Not artsy enough? Love the bow ties? Are students walking around in groups and smiling and laughing? Are students walking around by themselves? Pick up the school newspaper. Read it. Does it feel like you? Go on Facebook and search for groups and people from that school. Read the posts. Same with Twitter. Visit the Career Services Office – are they friendly? How busy is the office? How many counselors? Lots of Internship Programs? What is their job placement rate? Find out about the Counseling Center. What kind of services do they offer? Do they run stress relief programming? How many visits can you make per semester for personal counseling? Resident Advisors? Who does the college hire for the Residence Hall Advisors? Undergraduates/ graduate Students? What kind of training do they have? When you visit the dorms, check out the bulletin boards. Are there lots of educational materials? Notices for outings and activities?

Janelle BravermanEducational ConsultantIndependent University Advisors, LLC

What are some tips for college visits?

The first thing I would say about college visits is that it is about YOU not the college or admissions officer. Of course you should act appropriately, but don’t worry if you don’t have the opportunity to make your way to the admissions officer giving the info session. That said, you never know who you’re talking to, so making intelligent conversation and having thoughtful questions (ones whose answers are not found on the website), is a good idea. As far as planning your college visits, I recommend that instead of or I suppose in addition to making the rounds to all the Ivies, you consider visiting a wider range of schools: urban, suburban, rural, east coast, west coast, midwest, south, public, private, small, medium, large, and schools that admit more than 50% of their applicant pool. It’s better to visit different categories of school. There is a lot to love about lots of places, so obsessing over only the highly selective schools doesn’t provide a realistic picture of what your options may be.

Keith Wren

What are some tips for college visits?

1. Talk to lots of current students 2. Take Pictures and Notes 3. Eat in the dining hall 4. Explore on your own 5. Talk to professors 6. Read the bulletin boards

Eva HoltzCollege AdvisorPrepPoint

What are some tips for college visits?

1. Try to schedule your visit well in advance, since some tours may fill up. 2. Read up on the college, using college guides, brochures, course catalogs, and web sites. By doing this “homework,” you’ll uncover topics you’d like to learn more about during your visit. 3. Visit a local college first. Then you’ll know what to look for and ask about during later college visits. 4. Bring a camera, a notebook, and a campus map. 5. Make sure you have enough time. Schedule two colleges per day at most and allot extra time for getting oriented and finding parking. 6. Visit as many schools as you reasonably can. If there are too many, try to visit your top choices as well as a diversity of colleges—visiting a large urban campus and a small rural campus could quickly rule out one type or another. 7. Attend the informational session and tour offered by the admissions office. Pick up any papers that look useful, such as brochures, financial aid form, business cards, and the like. 8. Ask a lot of questions about academics, extracurriculars, the social scene, the surrounding community, safety, housing, and food—especially questions that you can’t find answers to in your books, brochures and websites. Ask not only the admissions staff, but also regular students around campus who can give you their honest opinions. 9. Make sure your parents behave! Here are some common parental faux pas to avoid: Using the royal “we” or speaking for the student Bragging about the student or by bringing up personal issues. Monopolizing the discussion. Sitting in on the on-campus interview, if there is one. 10. Take your own tour. If possible, check out the dining halls, dorms, classrooms, student center, library, and other facilities. If you can audit a class or dine on-campus, go for it! 11. Get a sense for the student body by reading the college newspaper, perusing the bulletin boards, and simply observing what kind of students are walking around campus. 12. Tour the local community. Would you enjoy spending time there? Is it easy to get around? 13. Consider writing a note to the admissions staff you met with, letting them know what you enjoyed about your visit. By doing so, you’ll make a valuable connection and possibly pick up some demonstrated interest brownie points. 14. Review your impressions and notes after your visit. Which school(s) fit your criteria? Where could you see yourself for several years?

Cheryl Millington

What are some tips for college visits?

There are many events that are specifically for future students that you’ll get invitations to attend. But note you’ll likely to get the ‘glossy’ view of the campus. But on the positive side, you’ll have a chance to see cool experiments, take part in fun activities or have access to areas that are normally closed to regular visitors. If you can, still try to visit another time during the school year so you can see and feel what a regular day is like. I recommend to start or end the visit around lunch time so you can have a meal on campus. This gives you the opportunity to taste and see the food options on campus, but also speak to students in the cafeteria to get their opinions of their experience at this school. Prepare your questions beforehand and try to get answers to all of them. Take photographs especially of the dorms to help you remember later on what you saw. You`ll be surprise that after a couple of campus visits how your memory is not as sharp as you`ll like.

Rebecca JosephExecutive Director & Foundergetmetocollege.org

What are some tips for college visits?

Make the most of your visits by trying to see what the campus has to offer you-academically, socially, and with activities, sports, and service. Go beyond the basics of tours and info sessions by walking around campus. Talk to students. Try to visit with anyone you know on campus. Spending the night in a dorm is awesome. Based on your interests, you can see if you can visit classes, meet with professors or coaches, and attend sports or theatrical events. If you can interview while there, even better. Remember to take notes and collect cards from anyone you meet. Always, always write thank you notes. But one final tip: please visit while the college is in session. Empty campuses or campuses filled with high school programs are not he same as an in-session visit.

Carolyn MulliganPrincipalInsiders Network to College

Make sure to chat with students……

If possible sign up for the information session and tour of the school since you will hit the high spots and get all the official material in that way. Make sure to ask your tour guide any extra or specific questions you may have about majors or extracurricular activities you may be interested in, or athletics. I always like to ask what they did over the last weekend or what might have surprised them after coming to the school? These questions often elicit interesting responses. If there are buildings or facilities that you are interested in that are not on the official tour, make sure to find out where they are and visit them before you leave campus. I always make sure to re-visit the Student Union or Campus Center and grab a soda or cup of coffee and watch the students coming and going to see if they look like people I would enjoy going to school with. Another good thing to do is actually go up to a group of students and engage them in conversation and ask them what they do on campus and how they like going to school there. They will usually be very honest and unscripted and you will get a lot of truthful information about the school and campus life. Once you are done and get back in the car, immediately take your notebook reserved for campus visits, and write down your thoughts about the school, good and bad, as you will see many schools and you want to capture your thoughts about this school while they are fresh in your mind. Then later on you can compare them with other schools that you visit. This is key. Remember enjoy your visit to schools – this is a fun part of the college search process.

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