College visits may seem
fairly simple. The information is all prepared by the school and all you have to do is show up and listen.
Though it may seem this way, you have to put yourself in the place of an applicant, even if you're not a senior, and consider the questions you may have when it actually comes to applying.
Sure, you'd love to see the dorms and eat in the dining hall, but one of the most important things at these initial college visits is admission.
Basically, a college visit will help you discover if you truly want to apply to a school, and what you need to do in order to apply.
For these reasons, you have to make an effort to personalize your college visits because these decisions are really about you
1. Consider Your Visit Options
Many schools offer several different options when it comes to visiting
campus. There are campus tours, information sessions, and overnight stays.
Schools often have special visit days for seniors and several of them offer more than one of these programs. Some schools even have separate visit
days depending on your intended major. If you are really interested in a school, you could take advantage of all of these options.
However, if time does not permit or you simply do not find it necessary, think about how far along you are in the application process. Do you want to know whether or not you should apply, or how
If you are still unsure about whether or not you even want to go to the school you're visiting
, you could start with a campus tour and information session to get a general feel for the campus.
If you've already made up your mind, however, you may be more interested in attending a presentation focused on admissions.
If you know what you want to study, the visit days for certain majors would make your visit
more focused on what you want to study, but if you're not sure what you want to study, this program may not be as beneficial as a general tour and information session.
Of course, when choosing the type of visit, you will ultimately choose the type that happens to work best with your schedule.
2. Come Prepared
If you have specific questions, write them down prior to arriving on campus. At the same time, though, make sure you visit the school’s website before your visit to see if you can find any answers there. That way, you'll be prepared when the panels ask if anyone has questions.
Also, the information presented won’t be completely new and overwhelming to you. You’ll be able to pay extra close attention to your specific questions.
Be prepared to listen and don't be afraid to write important information down. College visits
are intended for you to find out more about the school. You should be an active listener and at the very least, make mental notes of the information covered.
3. Rankings Aren’t Everything
It’s fine to visit a school
because of its ranking, because you may find that it truly is a fit
But maybe you visit campus
and realize that the school doesn't seem to offer much for you. The business program isn't what you are looking for, the study abroad
program seems too restrictive, and you don't know if you could ever get used to the layout of the campus.
It doesn't seem very safe, either. But the internet tells you that it's one of the top
schools in the country, so you figure you're probably wrong.
It’s important to remember that the rankings generalize things and virtually mean nothing when it comes to your college search
You should pick a school because you think you could be successful there, not because other people have been successful there.
4. Develop Your Own Opinions
The guy next to you during your campus tour
says that this school is “the worst school ever,” claiming that no intelligent business major has ever attended.
Good news, this guy is NOT you. Don’t let him (or any other student visiting) alter your opinion.
5. Explore Your Interests
Many programs have different booths that you can visit. Though it may seem unnecessary to go learn about the honors college, you'll have the opportunity to speak with someone one-on-one.
This is your chance to ask relevant questions that weren't answered earlier on in the visit.
It's also your chance to find out more about the student body and have a conversation with a real, live person!
These kinds of connections can be really important and informative because as you speak, you may develop more questions or answer some of your own.
You may not always get the chance to do this, but if you know someone who attends a school you're interested in, it's very informative to speak with them.
This is especially helpful if you're not able to visit campus
or if you have more questions that weren't answered when you visited.
Speaking with someone one-on-one feels more personal and it allows for you to hear more than one perspective of a school.
It would be especially helpful to talk to someone who’s studying what you want to study.
7. Ditch the Nerves
Easier said than done, right? But, truly, these college visits exist to help YOU.
Don't worry about what other students think of you or whether or not the girl at the study abroad booth truly wants to talk to you. These people are here to help, and they want to make sure your college admissions
process causes the least amount of stress as possible.
Take a deep breath, listen and look around. This is your future.
Find where you
want to go, not where the guy standing next to you or the person who publishes colleges rankings wants you to go.
Can’t get enough of Fastweb’s Student Soundoff series?
What helped you decide which college to attend?
Browse all of the student voices and their articles here.