Campus visits allow you to get a genuine feel for a university. This is everything you need to know to get the most out of your visit.
Perhaps one of the best ways to get an authentic feel for a university is to visit its campus. Not just see pictures of the architecture, but to observe it. Not just see staged pictures of students, but to actually meet them. This is everything you need to know about campus visits - how you can attend a campus tour, what to do before the visit, what to do during, and what to do afterward!
There are multiple ways to attend a campus tour.
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If you want to attend a campus visit with an official tour guide (who is most often a student that attends the university), you should call the college’s admissions office and make a reservation for a day and a time that works best for you.
Another way to get an official tour is to check with your school counselor whether or not it is possible to attend an organized tour with your school. Oftentimes, a class would visit a university as a one-day field trip.
If you are not really into official tours, you could check out the public spaces of the university in your own time!
Here are a few steps you should take prior to a campus visit:
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1. Browse the university’s website and get to know the basic details such as its location, whether its public or private, size, and cost of attending.
2. Create a list of questions based on what you learned (and didn’t learn) from the website.
3. Pack a notebook and a writing utensil to jot down notes and observations during your visit!
Things to do during the campus visit:
1. It would be helpful to jot things down during your tour - this is especially true if you planning on visiting more than one university. Otherwise, you run into the risk of mixing up the facts of different universities. Its also not a bad idea to take pictures of the University’s landmarks!
2. That being said, be sure to explore more than just the landmarks shown in the tour. For instance, you can also tour the surrounding town and city.
3. Talk to students who attend the college and make an effort to get to know them! You might even have an opportunity to shadow a student! If this sounds interesting, you should call the admissions office and request to shadow a student that is studying a major that you are interested in pursuing in the future!
4. Don’t be intimidated to ask the tour guide any questions you have in mind, and refer back to your list of questions. Try to ask questions that you wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere - such as the guide’s personal experiences being part of a certain club, or what their favorite classes are, or the guide’s favorite things about the college.
5. If you and your tour guide don’t get along right away, don’t completely cross off the college from your list. Try to consider the positive aspects of the college based on what you saw and heard during your visit.
What to do after your visit:
So you have had a chance to visit a university and ask some questions. After coming back home, document everything you learned. This can be as simple as jotting things down in a google doc or in a google spreadsheet.
Repeat this process for every university that you visit. After you have completed the “touring process”, you will hopefully have a bigger and more wholesome picture of all the universities - making it easier for you to compare multiple schools.
Remember, campus visits are what you make of them. Be curious and open-minded and learn as much as you can! Most importantly, trust yourself to find a match that is best for you!