Simple Tips for Planning Your College Visits
Be PreparedTry to schedule campus tours while classes are in session. Why? You’ll get a better feel for the campus and may have an opportunity to sit in on a class or two. It’s also easier to meet with the admission staff and participate in an overnight stay (if available). If you are interested in athletics or would like to meet a certain professor, this is also the best time to schedule an interview. Before you arrive for your tour, prepare a list of questions you may have about the campus, academics, social scene, and more. This will help you make an informed decision and not one simply based on campus aesthetics.
Give Yourself TimeTo avoid the ‘hard sell’ from campus ambassadors, allow yourself enough time to wander the campus on your own after the ‘official’ tour has ended. While guided tours are great, they typically only scratch the surface of what a campus truly has to offer. And, just like car salesmen, tour guides may only show you what they want you to see. Instead, hang out in some of the common areas, like the student union or cafeteria, taking time to talk with current students who aren't being paid to sell their campus to you. It’s also good to see how the campus feels both during regular class hours and after hours. After all, it’s going to be your home for the next few years, so be thorough.
Take NotesIt’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of being on a college campus, so be sure to bring along a pen and paper. You’ll want to keep track of important people you have met and their contact information, especially if you have any follow-up questions later in your college planning process. Also, bring along a camera. Take pictures of everything and put them on a Pinterest board or computer file. This will help you visualize the different spaces and compare campuses later in your decision process. Be sure to ask about transportation on and around campus, student facilities (gym, pool, restaurants), and dorm availability. Typically, the guided tour includes a look at a freshly painted, newer dorm room, but this may not be where you'll end up. It’s always smart to see all available options, if possible.