Planning your college visits
The college search process is an exciting time but can be overwhelming. Deciding on where to spend your college years is an important decision and one you should not take lightly. Careful research is required and there are many factors to consider. By far, the best way to size up an institution and determine fit is the college visit.
First, make sure you adequately research and plan each visit. Visit the college website to determine when they hold their information sessions and tours. Find out if you need to register in advance or just show up for a regularly scheduled presentation. Many college admissions links lead you to the regional counselor for your area so that you can find their name and contact information in advance. If the local admission representative has already visited your high school make sure you make a note of his/her name so that you can touch base with him/her when you are on campus.
Call the Admission office and find out if you can sit in on a class and/or tour a specific facility that might be off the normal tour, e.g., the engineering lab or the performing arts center.
Find out if the college requires or offers optional interviews. Your visit should coincide with an opportunity to interview. *If you need to audition, e.g., the performing arts, schedule your visit around this timeframe. *Ask your high school counselor for names and contact information of alumni at your high school that attend the college you are planning to visit. Many high schools have an alumni listing by college with emails and contact information for just this purpose.
The ideal time to visit is your spring break since you will have plenty of time off and the college students are all on campus. Summer is also an option though you will not get the same “campus vibe” since all but possibly a few summer school students are absent and many choice activities, e.g., sitting in on a class, will not be available to you. Another great time to visit is the end of the summer (for school systems that don’t start until late August or after Labor Day) since most colleges are back in full swing by mid to late August.
When planning your college visits remember that each student has unique needs, wants and personalities so make sure each visit is meaningful to you. You are the consumer. Make sure you make the most of your time on campus. Take control of your college visit experience and by all means, have fun!
Penny Deck is a College Counselor and the owner of Champion College Counseling. Penny has 10 years of counseling experience and specializes in working with athletes who are trying to find a good fit both academically and athletically. Penny offers live sessions covering Getting In and Paying For It. Penny Deck on Unigo