Why are campus visits so important?

Douglas L. ChristiansenDouglas Christiansen
Vice Provost for Enrollment, Dean of Admissions

Vanderbilt University

Campus visits are very critical to the process of choosing which college or university is right. It is difficult to describe the feeling one has when arriving at a new campus, but there is a feeling, and that is what is important. I have witnessed first-hand when a student loves a campus, or does not love the campus, upon arrival. What I am actually referring to is “fit.” While a student can find out basically all he/she needs to know about a campus via the Internet, until a student takes a trip to that campus, the actual experience is just theoretical. Knowing the journey involved to just arrive at a campus is critical. We have had students arrive, after driving all day, who then reconsider their opinion of our school. We have had students who have traveled around the world to arrive here, and fall in love with our campus immediately. The feel once a student arrives is very personal, and it is one all students need to have experienced before deciding which school is right for them. A campus visit allows the student to experience the trip involved to get to the school, the people who are there, and the actual learning environment on campus. Seeing the dorms and dorm rooms, tasting the food, walking the campus—all these elements are critical to understanding if a student will actually be happy once he/she is a student there.

Lori Greene
Director of Undergraduate Admission

Loyola University Chicago
The campus visit plays a crucial role in determining if the college or university you are considering is the right “fit” for you. Keep in mind that while you may not be able to visit all of the schools you are interested in, you can certainly look for virtual tours, videos, and blogs that provide more information about the campus and the location. Don't pass up the opportunity to visit a college close to you. Even though it may not be your first choice, you can tell from the visit if you like “this size of school” or “this type of location.”

Karen Hunt
Director of Admission

Wittenberg University
Visit, visit, visit. Finding a college is all about finding not just the school where you will get the best education, but also the place you will call home for college years. You wouldn’t buy a house without touring it first. You want to do the same when you select a college. You want to find a place where you can learn, work, eat, and play—a place where you feel comfortable as a member of a community.

Sara Lindberg

Sara Lindberg
Freelance Writer
Former High School Counselor
You can Google pretty much anything you want to know about a school, but you can’t get a feel for what it’s like to be on campus unless you visit. Since you’re going to be spending the next four to five years living at this school, it’s important that you take the time to walk the campus and talk to the students and staff who spend their days there. This experience will help you determine if the school is the right fit for you. Before you go, ask your high school counselor if any graduates are currently in attendance at the college you’re visiting. Getting a tour from a current student can give you a real feel for the campus and what the college has to offer.

During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, tour classrooms, and check out the dorms. While there, remember to focus on the feel of the school. Ask yourself what you love about it and acknowledge any concerns you might have. Before you head home, ask yourself one final question: If you had to choose today, what does your gut (and heart) tell you? Write down those initial thoughts and put them away. Do this for all the colleges you visit. When it comes time to narrow your list, you’ll have these anecdotal observations from the time you spent on campus.

Note: Did you know you could win a $10,000 scholarship for college or grad school just by registering on CollegeXpress? This is one of the quickest, easiest scholarships you’ll ever apply for. Register Now »

CollegeXpress Logo

$10,000

Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Do you have a question for our experts?