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What to Evaluate After Your College Visit

Learn how to properly analyze your college visit experiences.

Tiffany Sorensen, Varsity Tutors' Contributor

April 06, 2016

What to Evaluate After Your College Visit
You have just taken a big step in the college application process by going on a college visit. While all the information you learned is still fresh in your mind, you’ll want to take some time to analyze the experience. Here are some of the main things you should go over as soon as you get home from your trip:

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1. Your general impression of the college

Hopefully you took some notes—or mental notes, at least—while you were visiting the college. Now is the time to revisit all the thoughts that entered your head while you were touring the place. How did the campus make you feel? What kind of vibes did you capture from the students there? How did the libraries look? Take everything into account that you observed: classroom size, dorm set-up, Greek life, campus resources, etc. Then, give the campus an overall grade (either between 0 and 100 or between A+ and F). It is important to keep a record of your impression of the school. As time passes and you visit other schools, you may forget various details about each school.

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Therefore, it is recommended that you keep a notebook or similar resource to document your college visits.

2. What to change or continue for next time

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If you are planning on making more college visits, this is a great opportunity to reflect on which endeavors were most helpful to you. Maybe next time you would prefer to spend more time connecting with alumni than looking at the dining halls. Maybe you found speaking to the head librarian extremely useful because you learned about all the resources you would have access to. Think about which activities were beneficial to you and which you could have sat out. This way, you can invest your time more wisely on future campus visits.

3. Whom you should thank

Was there someone who made your college visit particularly memorable, such as an admissions counselor or a tour guide? Did a college student host you, or did a coach meet with you about campus sports teams? If so, follow up with that individual. Send a handwritten thank-you note or a brief email expressing your gratitude. Also, do not forget to remind this person of who you are! College staff members are busy people, and they may meet several new prospective students each day. A thank-you goes a long way, so be sure you don’t skip this important step. It is a sure way to maintain a strong network.

4. Your unanswered questions

You may still have questions even after doing research on a school and visiting it in person. If you are left with lingering questions or doubts about the school, reach out to someone who can guide you in the right direction. In general, admissions counselors are eager to assist prospective college students; after all, this is what admissions counselors are there for! Alumni are also a great resource for providing the inside scoop on schools, since they are usually quite candid with their responses. Regardless of whom you turn to, make sure that your question(s) cannot be answered anywhere else first. It could be embarrassing to find out that the answer to your question was clearly posted on the school’s website all along! College visits can be time-consuming and costly, so naturally, you’ll want to get the most out of them. You can think of your first college visit as a trial run, but aim to make the next one even more memorable by bearing these points in mind.

Tiffany Sorensen is a professional tutor and contributing writer with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.

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