For high school and transfer students choosing a college is a big decision, one that requires much evaluation. Visiting the campus of a potential college can be a little overwhelming but very exciting at the same time. There can be a lot of questions and emotions after all this is where you are going to learn, study, live, play, and make friendships. For some students, it will be their “home away from home” for others it will be where they spend most of their day.
Here are a few tips that will allow you to get the most out of your college visit.
1. Just Stop In
Before you arrange a scheduled visit, if the college is close to where you live, I recommend just dropping by. This will allow you to see the campus in a less formal atmosphere. This is the best way to get a feel for the campus and to see if it’s a good match for you. It will be a little more relaxed and you won’t be so overwhelmed with the information that is given when you are on a formal tour. You can check out how large the campus is. What campus diversity is like. So grab a campus map either a physical copy, download and print one, or look it up on your phone and have fun exploring!
Trust me this will help you narrow down your campuses. When I was in the process of choosing a university, I visited one particular campus, walked it for less than 15 minutes, and knew that it wasn’t for me. I just knew I wouldn’t thrive there.
2. Do Your Research About The College Campus
Before visiting a college campus do a little research so you can get the most out of the visit. Know what you want to see and where you want to go. What academic departments are you interested in? Where are they located on campus? Where is the library? What clubs and societies do they have? Are there some places in the neighborhood that you want to check out? What are all the hotspots around campus? Check out public transportation if necessary. Think about what you will do on the weekends and where you may work.
3. Take The Guided Tour
Take the official campus tour. It’s totally worth it. You will get to see lots of things that you can’t during a self-guided tour. You will get to check out the fitness center, the health center, dorms, the cafeteria, and other facilities that are restricted to current students.
Visits typically will include an information session and a guided tour of the campus. The information part will give an overview of the college’s history and its academics and resources. There will probably be a lot of fun facts and possibly famous alumni. The campus tour will take you to important locations like the student union, library, dining halls, classrooms, dorm rooms, and different academic departments. To schedule, a tour all you need to do is call the admission office and schedule a visit. You may even be able to signup online.
During the tour be sure to take notes on anything relating to your major and interests. For example, if you are interested in fitness do they have a gym or fitness center for students? What about an outside pool? If you major in computer science, you know that the industry is everchanging. As a potential student, you may want to make sure the program (curricula), department, and equipment are up to date.
Don’t forget to ask questions during the tour. Typically, your tour guide will be a current student and will give you honest answers and a real-life perspective about being a student at that school.
4. Talk With Other Students
I highly recommend talking with other students. Getting a student’s perspective is the best way to get a realistic idea of student life. Be sure to talk with students in your major. All you have to do is go to the building of your major and find some students. For me, it was the business building. I asked students who were hanging out what their major was, some were finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship. I asked about the different business programs, classes, and professors. This gave me great insight into the business department. The goal is to leave with a clear idea of what life as a student will be like.
Studies show that students have a higher success rate in classes if they work together. I want you to get in the habit of talking to other students. Don’t be shy, everyone is there for the exact same reason. The Benefits Of Making Friends With Classmates are huge. They can be a great study partner, good support system, and close friend.
5. Meet With Financial Aid
While you are there visiting the college campus I recommend you make an appointment to meet with the financial aid office. It’s important to know where this office is and to prepare for the meeting. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Like, are there other sources of financial aid that you may not know about and that you can apply for? Ask where and how you will get your money (ie. direct deposit, check, etc) Be sure to ask if there are any upfront costs that you may need to pay for before your financial aid comes in. Those in the financial aid office are a wealth of information so pick their brains.
Do you want to graduate college with no debt? Here are The Top 10 Ways To Pay For College Without Loans.
Don’t Be Too Quick To Judge The College Campus
Once you visit a few campuses you will get an idea of what you like and don’t like. You will be able to create comparisons and that will help you narrow down your preferences. Also, don’t be too quick to judge. Going to college is a huge change so there will be some apprehension. Just remember to be open-minded.