Maximize Your Campus Tour
Checking out colleges requires an investment of time and money, so you want to make the most of every visit. These tips can help you get what you need to help you make the biggest decision of your educational life.
Schedule your visit in advance (ideally, during junior year) so that you can take a guided tour, meet key people, and do some research. Before you go, know which departments or classes you’ll want to visit and which facilities you most want to see.
You don’t have to go to every college you’re considering; that can be a major investment of time and money. Aim for the schools easiest to visit and those at the top of your list.
Feel it Out
The primary purpose of a campus visit is to see if you’re happy and comfortable there, so be sure to check out the dorms, student center, and any facilities related to your interests, like the bookstore, theater, or gym. Eat at the dining hall. Sit in the quad and check the vibe. Go to a class, if you can. Read the notices on the billboards. Take notes — and lots of pics.
It can be tough to know what to ask in a new place, but the more questions you bring with you, the more you can find out. How does the college ensure student safety? What’s the political climate? Talk to lots of people — students, your tour guide, the chair of your major department, financial aid — and remember their names for your essay.
Go Off Campus
Sometimes being in college means living in an isolated little world, but more often than not, you’ll spend a lot of time off campus. So explore the surrounding area while you’re there. Will you thrive there? Can you find the restaurants you like? A place to work? Hiking trails? Whatever you’re looking for — make sure it’s available. After all, you’re going to call it home for the next four years.