Visiting potential college campuses is one of the most important steps in your college search. While visiting, you can get a good feel for how life there would be like. If you’re anything like me, you started your college search clueless. I felt intimidated walking onto a university campus for the first time. Learn from my experience. Here’s what to do to get the most out of your visit, plus one big don’t.
1. Do visit campus during the school year
University offices are open during the summer, and some offer summer courses. But you should try to go when most students are there to see what the normal atmosphere is like. Also, during the school year, there are more opportunities to sit in on classes and meet students and staff.
2. Do ask lots of questions
When you visit a college, you’ll most likely meet with your admission counselor and go on a tour of the campus. They will cover a lot of information, but they may miss some things. So ask tons of questions. Bring a notepad with questions already on it, and write down the answers for future use. Ask about tuition, scholarships, study abroad and internship opportunities, and whatever else is important to you.
3. Do check out the dorms
When you take a tour of campus, make sure you visit a dorm room. You’ll get to see how big they are, how clean things are kept, and more. You’ll spend a lot of your time in your dorm as a student, so where you lay your head at night is important.
4. Do eat in the cafeteria
Try out the food on campus. This is especially important if you are a picky eater. You need to make sure the food is edible! If the food does not turn out so good, don’t worry—most campuses have more than one dining option.
5. Do meet with professors
These people will be your teachers and mentors for the next four years or more. Make time to meet with a professor and talk about the program you are interested in. Ask them questions, like where do they see the program going? Or is it enjoyable for them to teach?
6. Do sit in on a class
When scheduling your visit, check if there will be any classes in session, and pick one within your interests. It is a great opportunity to see the class size and how students interact with the professors and other students.
7. Do ask your tour guide about their experience at the school
This might be the most important question you will ask! When you tour a campus, your tour guide will most likely be a student currently attending the school. Ask them about their experience. What do they wish they knew about picking a school? Would they have done anything differently? Why did they choose this college? Your tour guide will give you the most truthful answers and will be happy to answer your questions.
And one don’t:
1. Don’t visit your top-choice college first
This was something that I did. I had done tons and tons of research on different colleges, and I had an idea of which college I liked the best and visited that one first. Visiting campus should be done to get more information about life on campus; don’t let it be the only deciding factor on where you’re going to go. Visit each school like it was the first one you’ve been to. This will clear any preconceived ideas about the school, and you’ll get to see what it’s really like there without comparing it to your absolute favorite.
Have any other helpful tips on visiting campus? Let us know in the comments!