There is so much anticipation once you schedule that college campus tour and information session. You are ready to embark on taking the time, whether it is a day trip from where you live to take a plane flight to do so, to step foot on campus, and experience the college from all 5 of your senses: see, touch, smell, hear and taste. So very important to fully understand what that campus can offer you and if you can see yourself living and attending college there. I always say that you have to get the most out of your visit since you most probably will not be going back, possibly ever, but certainly not until after you have been accepted. Given this, taking a planned and structured approach to seeing beyond the well-manicured landscaping and beautifully designed buildings is a must to dig deeper. After all, this is the biggest decision you and your family will make, not only from a social and academic standpoint but from a financial one as well.
The Checklist Below Will Help You Make the Most of Your Visit
1. Prepare for Your Visit
Do your research beforehand, virtually, to gather all of the information possible about the college. This will help you not only decide if you even want to visit this college but once you are on campus, it will also assist you in determining what additional information you want to gain during your visit.
Prepare a list of questions and information you want to learn about when you are on campus (See our blog post “How to research colleges virtually”
2. Take Photos
Once you visit a series of schools, you won’t be able to differentiate one campus from another. So, we recommend that you take photos during each college visit and file them into an album on your phone with the name of the school. That way you will be able to refer back to them at a later date and know which photo goes with which school.
3. College Facilities
Is the library a place you can study?
Are the dorm rooms places where you can see yourself living? Remember: this isn’t home and you will be sharing your room, bathroom facilities and dining areas with others – it’s just the way it goes with college life.
Are the food options good for you? If you have food allergies, does the school cater to students who have them?
If you have a specific area of study in which you are interested, what are the facilities associated with that major like? Are they up to date? Does the school offer the most current technology?
What are the class sizes? Can you see yourself being able to learn in this setting?
Are the professors accessible?
Are there lecture size classes and, if so, how large are they and will you be able to be successful in that setting?
What is the rigor of the course curriculum?
Is this a collaborative environment?
Do the students have good relationships with their professors?
Does the school offer your potential areas of interest?
5. Student Life at the College
What activities does the school offer?
Can you see yourself joining those organizations and clubs?
Ask your tour guide what they like most about the school and what they see as something that could be improved.
Ask the tour guide why they chose this school to attend.
6. Life Outside of Campus
Is the area outside the campus something you can see yourself enjoying?
Is there a town that has activities and establishments that you are looking for?
7. Are the College’s Admissions Requirements Within Your Reach?
Do you know how and when to apply? Were you able to meet with an admissions officer? If so, make sure you get their card and send an email thanking them for their time.
8. Take Notes
Write down all of the information and your impressions of the school. As much as you think you will remember everything down the road, trust me, you won’t.
9. And Finally, If You Do Nothing Else, Ask Yourself this Question
How well does this college fit me, from this is an excellent fit to this is not my school? I tell my students to ask themselves, if this is the only school I get into would I be happy to attend? If the answer is eh, or no, then don’t apply! Why waste your time?
If you would like to access our phone and tablet ready Checklist for College Visits document, you can do so through the link below.
Now get to it and start your college research and campus visits!
Looking for help with the college selection process? We help students and families through the entire college planning journey – from search, applications and essays to interview prep, financial aid consultation and final school selection.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, 845.551.6946. We work with students in person, through Zoom, over the phone and by email.