How to Make the Most of Your Campus Visit
Determining which colleges and/or universities are a good fit for you can be tough! Even after you’ve narrowed down your list to a manageable number of options, you still might feel a little lost on how to best determine what schools are truly the right match for you. While there are many resources available online, visiting campus is often the next step that students take to get a better sense of the schools about which they’ve been reading. Here are just a handful of tips to help you have a meaningful and informative campus visit:
Take the campus tour and attend an information session. This is the obvious choice for a reason! Taking a campus tour can give you a great sense of the general campus culture from the perspective of a student who experiences it daily. You’ll get the opportunity to speak with a student representative or admissions staff member who can give you more in-depth information about your specific areas of interest, and answer some more nuanced questions. Come to campus prepared with some questions that are important to you, as this is your chance to ask them!
Take an un-official tour on your own design. As mentioned, a campus tour can be a great experience because you’ll get to see a large amount of a campus in a short amount of time. However, there might be some areas that you’d like to explore at your own pace. You could opt to go back to the buildings/areas from the tour that interested you the most, or you could seek out a space that was not featured on the tour. Ask your tour guide if there are buildings - such as a student center, library, theatre, or academic building - that is open to visitors.
Sit in on a class. There’s no better way to find out about the academic and intellectual life on campus than to observe it in person! Many schools will offer the chance to sit in on a real class and see for yourself how students interact with each other and their professors.
Schedule an interview. If a school offers interviews, this can be a great way to simultaneously give a school more information about yourself while learning a little more about the school. If you’re making the trip to campus for a tour anyway, it’s always worth looking into this option. Some schools require interviews, while for others they are optional, or not offered at all. Make sure to check before missing any potential deadlines!
People-watch! Sometimes you can learn even more about a school and its culture by observing how students interact with one another on a daily basis. Sitting still and observing can also give you a glimpse into your possible future self -- do you feel comfortable sitting in this environment? Is this somewhere you could envision yourself? Keep in mind that every student is different and that no one student you observe is going to embody the school as a whole, but observing students during a busy time of the day can help you get a general sense of the vibe on campus.
Walk around the neighborhood and surrounding area. Though the campus will likely be your home-base as a college student, attending a college also means becoming a member of the community in which it is located. Walk around the neighborhood to get a sense of what activities, restaurants, cultural events, internships, and job opportunities might be available to you for your 4 years as a student.
Finally, though a campus visit can be rewarding and eye-opening, if it’s not possible for you to visit every school in which you are interested, don’t fret! Look to a school’s website to see what other resources might be available, such as virtual tours, pictures, or opportunities to speak to a current student virtually. And, if you’re eligible you may also be able to apply to fly-in programs, in which schools will fund your trip to campus, so be sure to look out for other opportunities!
Senior Admissions Officer