“I knew from the minute I stepped onto campus that this was the right college for me.”
“I felt like I was home.”
“I could just see myself studying with friends in the quad.”
Comments like these are very common among college freshmen who reflect on why they selected a particular school. For many students, the positive feeling they got on campus is a top reason for applying and eventually enrolling. However, you are not going to get that feeling from a brochure. It is important to visit!
How does a student make the most of a college visit? Whether a curious freshman or an already-accepted senior, Admit U recommends that high school students plan ahead. Visits should be planned for times when campuses are in full swing, such as Mondays through Thursdays. Weekends do not leave much opportunity to observe classes or meet faculty. Also, be mindful of semester breaks and exam weeks, when campuses can be quiet and lack their typical personality.
After considering dates to visit, check the admissions website for prospective student events, like open houses, campus tours and information sessions. Some colleges even host “Student for a Day” opportunities where you have the chance to attend class, dine with a current student, and meet with professors in your area of academic interest. Register online for these events so you can reserve a space in group activities. Participating in such events helps you get a sense of college life and lets the college know that you are there and are truly interested in their school. This is one of many ways to demonstrate interest – a factor considered by some colleges as part of your admissions decision.
Seniors (and some juniors) who are sure of their interest in a particular school and have visited before, may want to schedule an admissions interview during a subsequent visit. Spending time with an admissions representative is a unique opportunity for students to simultaneously learn more about the school and demonstrate interest in this particular college. Of course, be prepared to answer questions about yourself and reasons you are interested in the school; and don’t forget to ask intriguing questions that matter to you! You may want to consider doing some interview prep with a college consultant (Admit U!) or school counselor before you go.
To truly make the most of a campus visit, students should get a taste of campus life – sit in on a lecture that interests you, eat in a popular campus hot spot, and spend time in the student center. If you can, arrange an overnight stay with a student through the admissions office. Also, be sure to pick up a student newspaper and scan campus bulletin boards to learn more about campus life.
While on campus, talk to current students. Ask them about their experiences: How do they like their dorms? How difficult is it to enroll in classes? What are the most popular student activities? How many students graduate in four years? How’s the food? What’s campus like on the weekends? College students are typically happy to share their experiences and opinions!
Remember, campus visits are helpful to all high school students. Freshmen and sophomores can explore colleges of different sizes and locations to determine their preferences too. Do you like a large, sprawling campus or a city-centric school? Do you want to be able to drive to campus or are you happy being a plane-ride away? Juniors should be exploring college campuses with an eye toward collecting information and demonstrating interest to admissions officers, while seniors should visit the colleges to which they have been accepted…possibly seeking that perfect fit!
Admit U wishes all high school students luck in the college admissions process. Please contact us for more information or assistance. Our college experts are ready to help!