Make the Most of a College Visit

June 14, 2016 10:35 pm Published by Comments Off on Make the Most of a College Visit

Selecting the right college is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. But it can be overwhelming.

Visiting schools and answering questions about what you want in a school will help make the process smoother. A personal visit is invaluable in helping you get a real feel for a college.

The typical campus visit consists of a tour with a student guide and a group information session with an admissions officer. But it is helpful to visit the classroom, speak with faculty, gather financial aid information, meet with coaches, try the cafeteria food, and stay overnight with a host.

Here are a few tips on when to visit, what to see, and what to ask while touring your top college choices.

Class Size: Depending on the type of learner you are, class size may affect your choice of school. As student-teacher ratios tend to fluctuate, the best way to inquire about class size during the campus visit is to raise questions concerning specific courses. 101-level courses tend to be large; however, they usually break down into smaller, personalized discussion sessions. Oftentimes these sessions are taught by teaching assistants. Ask about the schools policy on TAs. Also, find out the truth of whether or not professors are accessible.

Academic Support: Be sure to ask about a school’s housing situation. Is housing guaranteed all four years? It is important to inquire about early deadlines to secure freshman housing. Once you have chosen a school, don’t wait to research housing, and then turn in the necessary paperwork. Many schools operate on a first-come, first-serve basis. Ask about meal plans too, as they’re oftentimes associated with housing.

Dorms: Ask if the dorms are coed. Are the bathrooms coed? If possible, try to see the dorms firsthand, or even spend the night.

Fraternities, Sororities and Other Social Groups: Ask what percentage of the student body is in a fraternity or sorority. What is the earliest or latest date one can rush? What is the policy on Greek housing? How dominant are the Greeks on campus? If you’re not interested in the Greek life, what other social groups exist on campus? What clubs, organizations, intramurals, etc. are available?

Safety: Ask about campus security. Many schools have emergency, no-dial telephones you can use if you’re in trouble. Schools often provide escort services 24 hours a day. Ask about campus safety before crossing a school off your list because of an unsafe rumor. The campus and town can only do so much to protect you, the student. It is your responsibility to take advantage of the available resources.

According to the College Board, there are many things not to be missed while visiting a college campus. Take a look at this list before planning campus trips to make sure that you allow enough time on each campus to get a sense of what the school – and the life of its students – is really like.

  • Take a campus tour.
  • Have an interview with an admissions officer, if possible.
  • Get business cards and names of people you meet for future contacts.
  • Pick up financial aid forms.
  • Participate in a group information session at the admissions office.
  • Sit in on a class of a subject that interests you.
  • Talk to a professor in your chosen major or in the subject that interests you.
  • Talk to coaches of sports in which you might participate.
  • Talk to a student or counselor in the career center.
  • Spend the night in a dorm.
  • Read the student newspaper.
  • Try to find other student publications, department newsletters, alternative newspapers.
  • Scan bulletin boards to see what day-to-day student life is like.
  • Eat in the cafeteria.
  • Ask a student why he/she chose this college.
  • Wander around the campus by yourself.
  • Read for a little while in the library and see what it’s like.
  • Ask the student what he/she hates about the college.
  • Ask the student what he/she loves about the college.
  • Browse in the college bookstore.
  • Walk or drive around the community surrounding the campus.
  • Ask the student what he/she does on weekends.
  • Try to see a dorm that you didn’t see on the tour.
  • Imagine yourself attending this college for four years.

While the goal of the campus visit is to learn more about the college, remember the reason you’re there: to see if you would fit in. If you can see yourself at a certain college, do not cross it off your list if you heard it’s too hard or too easy to get into. The college search is about you. No one else can decide where you fit in. Listen to yourself and the college will be your dream come true.

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This post was written by c2cadmin

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