There’s always that awkward moment when you arrive at your prospective institution and find it completely deserted. What happened to the colossal student life advertised in all of the college pamphlets mailed to you? It’s not much of a college visit when all there is to see are a bunch of empty rooms, tables, and a seemingly endless amount of artistic structures.
It’s essential to know if this college is where you want to expend thousands of dollars into your education. Planning a college visit must be taken seriously.
First off, visit the website of the school you plan to visit and search for what tours are offered. There may be tours that are general to the whole college, while there may be more specific tours that cover more individual areas, such as residence halls. Consider your priorities. If you fancy living on campus, then plan to participate in the residence tour.
After selecting which tour you would like to be a part of, schedule it. What some may
do is visit their future college over a break, which only results in viewing a desolate
campus. You need to schedule a visit while school is in session to gain a sense of what
the atmosphere is like. Another advantage of visiting while school is in session is that you
are welcome to sit in on a class that interests you.
Do not attend a tour alone. Bring your parents, friends, boyfriend or girlfriend, or any
classmates who are interested in that school. The more the merrier. Plus, when you are
around people you know, you will feel more comfortable.
Though tours may be hokey and boring, they serve as an extremely useful resource.
Tour guides that are highly knowledgeable of the campus can be available to answer any
questions you may have. Take advantage of having a human being guide you, rather than
simply relying on the school website. Before your visit, consider questions you would
want answered. Ask about sports, clubs, housing, student work, food, studying abroad,
and anything else you are interested in. Tour guides would much rather lead a group with
questions than a crowd of quiet people who are just along for the ride.
Consider your transportation options. Find out if there is a bus system that runs through
the college, the costs (if any), and compare its convenience to that of having a car. Find
out parking availability, rates, and the practicality of having your car at your new school.
When the tour is complete, do some self-exploration. It helps to visit a school in which
you know someone who already attends there. Ask your friend to show you around the
campus. Maybe there are some secrets about the school the tour guides don’t share with
you. Also, if you want to live on campus, hang out with them in their dorm.
Living on campus is not for everyone. If the Greek system or dormitories are not for you,
but you want to move, look for nearby apartments or homes. Maybe you want to rent a
room or share a house with friends. Figure out the logistics of your living situation ahead
of time to be prepared when it is time to settle on a place.
While it is nice to get a basis for what the campus looks like and where everything
is, also schedule a meeting beforehand with someone from the Office of Admissions,
Financial Aid, or your specific department. Even look into talking to a club president or
a sports coach. Bring numerous questions for them so you can become familiar with the
The college you are planning on attending may be in a city you are unfamiliar with. After
roaming the campus, take some time to explore the city. Get to know what food options
are available, what the nightlife is like, and where stores are to purchase groceries,
clothes, supplies, etc.
Enjoy your campus visit and allow your experience to aid you in the decision of the fate
of your education.