After the exciting moment when you open your first college acceptance letter, there comes a flood of collegiate invitations. A springtime baseball game on campus, accepted students’ day, class meetups: honestly, the calendar can get a little overwhelming! Especially when you’re deciding between multiple potential colleges, it can be a challenge to pick out which events you should attend—or if you should attend any at all.
Related: Making the Final College Decision
While your ultimate college decision has to be based on your interest in the campus and how it fits you, there are six main reasons why you should consider dropping by at least one of these campus events before you send in your deposit.
1. You’ll familiarize yourself with campus
No matter what the size of your future campus, you’ll need a little time to get used to where all of the buildings are. I go to a relatively small private school, but I was still terribly lost my first days on campus! Fortunately, since I went to so many events and tours early on, I had a good grasp on the basics by the time I actually moved in. (Even though it took me two weeks to find out that we had a second dining hall…) If you attend an event like an accepted students’ day or a group tour, you’ll have experienced guides to show you around your campus. That way, you’ll begin to feel more comfortable, and you may even pick up some secret shortcuts that the average freshie won’t know.
2. You’ll get to know your classmates
It’s nice to know a few faces before you make the jump to college. If you aren’t moving in with friends from high school, early campus events can be a great chance to meet your classmates—and you never know how important they may become to you! For example, I met three of my closest friends at early events. The girl I sat next to by chance became my awesome freshman roommate, and the girl she met at a hall meeting became one of our closest friends. The girl whose hair I complimented had practically everything in common with me, and we still have crazy movie nights and study groups. Of course, not everyone you meet early on will become your best friend, but they will give you someone to text for lunch throughout those first few days. (Plus, you may run into them in otherwise friendless classes, which is a gift!)
3. You’ll start feeling (and showing) school spirit
If a school is one of your top choices, start representing! It’s so much fun to start learning about your teams, colors, and traditions, and there’s no better way to stay excited in your time before move-in day than by wearing your logo or colors. For example, I started following my university’s “Orange Wednesday” tradition before I got to campus—and it worked out great when I moved in, because there were random prize giveaways!
4. You’ll get t-shirts and other fun stuff
Speaking of wearing school colors… At all of the events I attended before Welcome Week (and most of them afterwards), there was something cool given away. I have tons of school t-shirts, as well as cups, posters, bags, and even a few (short-lived) glow sticks! One of my friends at another university got an amazing jersey at one of her early events too, which was perfect for attending home games.
5. You’ll have opportunities to talk to upperclassmen
One of the best ways to learn about a college is to chat with upperclassmen. Whether you want to learn if this school is really the best fit for you or just want to know which classes you should take/avoid your first year, odds are an upperclassman can give you great advice. These college events are usually staffed by student ambassadors and tour guides.
If you don’t find a student guide you click with, consider looking through social media for a friendly-sounding student. (You’ll often see conversations started on the school hashtag around this time.) Once you’ve found someone, don’t be afraid to send out a quick DM and ask if they’d be willing to chat with you. (My favorite method is to find the best coffee shop on campus and ask if I can buy them a coffee!) Lots of students choose to put their graduation year in their profile, so you can also see how long they’ve been studying.
6. You’ll start getting excited!
If this is the college you want to attend, it’s never too early to start getting exciting! You’ll be spending your next two to four years on this campus, so you should grow to love it. Start imagining your first day of class or picking out your favorite spots on campus—and maybe find the mascot for a like-heavy Instagram! You only have so much time before college, so enjoy it.
So, when those invitations start flooding in, keep these six things in mind. Whether you can make the events or not, make sure that the months before your freshman year are the best yet!