When researching colleges, there are many factors to consider, including net cost, student aid eligibility, course offerings, graduation rate, location, and more. You can research most of these criteria on websites, in brochures, and at college fairs. However, some selection criteria, such as academic climate and social atmosphere, require a personal visit to learn whether a college suits you. After all, you wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, and your education is much more important!
College Visit Tips
When visiting a college, there is a lot more you can do than just take a campus tour. Here are some tips to help make your visit count:
- Schedule visits when the college is in session and students are on campus to get the most out of your experience.
- Sit in on a class in your academic area to get a feel for class size, and talk with professors in your intended major area.
- Talk informally with current students. Ask them why they chose the college and if it has lived up to their expectations.
- Explore the college's surrounding community.
- If you are interested in playing sports, try to meet with the coach or attend a practice.
- Ask the admissions office to help you arrange an overnight with a current student. Spending a night in the dorm and eating in the cafeteria will give you a true feel for student life at the college.
- If you didn't sign up for a campus tour, be sure to stop in the admissions office to introduce yourself. Visiting a college shows your level of interest, and this will be helpful when submitting your application.
- After your campus visit, send thank-you notes via e-mail or regular mail to students, professors, admissions representatives, and anyone else you met during your visit.
Although college visits take time and effort, you should try to visit as many colleges as you can. At the very least, visit all of the colleges that you are seriously considering.