Campus visits are meant to give you a feel for the school. From the people to the places to the food, your future college must make you comfortable in every aspect. After all, it will be your home for the next four years. Here are some tips to help you come to a decision if you have to navigate campus on your own.
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Transportation has always been a problem for my family. We knew that if I were ever to visit a college out of the state or even out of the city, it would take hard work and possibly be a solo trip. We proved to be right when I left for a pre-college course at Brown University. I planned to make those three weeks on the East Coast as productive as possible. My weekends were filled with campus visits outside of Rhode Island. I took commuter rails and the Amtrak to Yale, Harvard, MIT, and Boston University. None of these cities were anything like Dallas, which made it difficult to navigate the winding streets. Nevertheless, I found my way each time with the help of Google Maps and kind strangers.
- Make the most out of your time by planning ahead.
- Visit colleges that may interest you and even those that may not initially.
- Prepare yourself to encounter something new.
My four- to six-hour visits were thoroughly planned to make for an interesting and rewarding day. When I arrived at Harvard, my first move was to the main green of the school. The heart of every campus gives off a vibe that opens your eyes to what life there would be like, and as I sat there, I felt it. I was surrounded by people from all around the world speaking languages that I'd never heard before. They stared at the buildings hoping to get something out of it, but what they really should have been doing was sitting down, relaxing, and absorbing the atmosphere.
Besides the atmosphere, you must check out all of the departments that you are interested in. In my experience, I visited all of the planetariums and observatories I could, and if I couldn't, I spoke with anyone associated with them. By making these connections, I was able to receive helpful information on what I could do to further my knowledge in the field of astrophysics.
- Visit departments that interest you.
- Speak to people in those departments.
- Soak up as much as possible and imagine yourself there as a student.
The return from every school gave me time to reflect. I wrote down everything I felt about each school. I realized what kind of college I knew would make me happy and would benefit my career. As weary as the days were, what I took away from every school made up for it.
- Take notes of all the things you thought were good and bad about the school.
Remember, your compatibility with a school is what will make you successful. Don't be afraid to trust your gut.
Any other tips for visiting college campuses on your own? Share them in the comments!