By Explore Editor As you begin the college search, a lot of questions emerge: What type of school is right for me? How many schools should I be looking at? Is it better to stick close to home or venture to a different part of the country? Get started on the right foot by booking a live session with one of our admissions experts who can help you answer these questions and outline a plan. You are going to need help, and someone to talk to throughout the process who’s been there before. Now is the time to start establishing that relationship. Consider it a first date, so that you know who you are spending your senior year with. One of the best things you can also do during the month of April is to actually step foot on a college campus. This can be any campus, not necessarily your dream school. April school vacation week is a great chance for you to get out and visit some nearby college campuses and start to get a sense of what you might be looking for in a college, and equally as important, what you are definitely not looking for in a college. Visit Two Schools: Find two schools within an easy driving distance from your home – one large public university (think 8,000+ student pop.) and one small liberal arts college (under 3,000 students). Go visit these two campuses and note the major differences. Large public universities tend to have (obviously) massive campuses with state of the art athletic facilities, student centers, and a diverse array of students from all different backgrounds. Bigger schools mean more opportunities – wide range of extracurricular clubs, intermural sports, and on-campus events. With a much smaller student population, liberal arts colleges tend to have more of a sense of ‘community’ and students thrive off of the personal touches and intimate class size. Ask Questions: You’re not going to learn anything by being shy, so speak up! Any general questions about the school can be answered by your tour guide, but make sure to approach a few students who are just milling about campus. Most students will be more than willing to answer a few questions, and you’ll likely get a more, let’s say, accurate answer than you would on an official tour. Ask students about where they hang out on campus, typical weekend activities, and their favorite and least favorite aspects about the school. If you already have a major in mind, make sure to speak with a professor from that department as well to get a sense of the academic life. Explore On Your Own: The first thing you should do when visiting a college campus is to take an official campus tour. You’ll get a good introduction of the layout, history, and general ‘vibe’ of a school from the tour, but you won’t get the full experience. Take some time to walk around by yourself. Explore the student center and see what everyone’s up to when they’re not in class. Eat a meal in one of the dining halls and think to yourself, “Could I eat this every day?” Exploring a campus on your own terms should give you a gut sense of whether or not you’d feel comfortable living and studying in this environment for four years, and in the end, that’s the most important factor in choosing a school. As always, Unigo is here to help you through every step of the process. Our network of Admissions and Financial Aid experts are eager to give you advice on the types of schools you should be looking at, and ways to get the most out of your financial aid package. You can also talk with college students from the schools you’re interested in and get the inside scoop you won’t hear on a campus tour.