Campus visits are a great way to get a taste of what you really like—and don’t like—about the schools on your college list. But they can also be tedious, time consuming, and stressful. As someone whose last years of high school were filled with treks across many college campuses, I have experienced the ups and downs of the roller coaster that is the campus visit. Here are six tips to help you make the most of yours!
1. Do your research
Like college itself, campus visits are all about what you put into them. So before you go, make sure you do some research. The goal here isn’t to become an expert on the school or anything, but to get a glimpse of what you’re heading into. Even taking a tiny peek at the school’s info online can make the whole day a tiny bit less overwhelming. Some things to look into include certain programs you might be interested in, the school’s surrounding area, or the availability of online tours. This information is often found on the school’s website or on a college search website like Big Future (or CollegeXpress!).
2. Book a tour
There’s nothing wrong with doing your own self-guided tour of a school, but I personally found student-led tours to be especially beneficial. Some pros include access to a student currently attending your school of interest; a clearer picture of where everything is located and exactly what all these buildings around you are for; and some key information on the school that you might not be able to get from just browsing the website. And if you can’t make the trip, taking an online tour is better than nothing!
3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Whether you’re at an info session, on a tour, or wandering by the school’s administration office, don’t be afraid to speak up! Keep in mind that these people genuinely want to help you and are here to answer your questions.
On your campus visit, really make an effort to visualize yourself at the school. Think about it: can you see yourself walking to and from class, eating in these dining halls, studying in these libraries, staying in these dorms, and dealing with the weather? If you dread the mere thought of spending your days there, then odds are this school is a no-go. Of course, it’s impossible to know exactly how you’ll feel once you actually live there, but creating this sort of college dreamscape can help.
5. Make a pros and cons list
This step is fairly self-explanatory, but making a list of pros and cons is an easy way to clarify what you do and do not like about a school. It’s especially useful to do this when a visit is fresh in your mind.
Related: How to Narrow Down Your College List
6. Compare your schools
Something I always did after every campus visit was rank each college in order of my favorite to least favorite. Whether you do this mentally or on paper, it’s a quick, easy way to keep track of your thoughts on each school. This will also help when it’s time to apply for college because you can then consider applying Early Action or Early Decision for schools at the top of your list.
Research the schools you want to visit right here on CollegeXpress.