This is the final of a series of four posts on Researching Schools.
To get the most out of your campus visits, take the time to prepare.
Before you leave home, look online for maps and directions from your home to your first stop and from each stop to the next, if you plan to visit more than one school. Print your hotel and airline or train reservation confirmations, if applicable. Grab a notebook and write down the date, time and location of tours, info sessions, scheduled appointments and any other on-campus events you plan to attend. Don’t forget to take all of this along with you.
Plan ahead for your info sessions and tours. Think in advance about what you’d like to learn. Don’t ask questions that are easily answered by looking through the school’s website— ask school-specific questions. This is the time to get information about programs that interest you, details about housing and financial aid. Be prepared to take notes to help you remember the details. If you’ve scheduled a meeting with a faculty member or coach, remember to make good use of their time as it’s limited. Have questions ready in advance and remember to dress appropriately. Use an envelope to collect and save business cards from all the school representatives you meet. Remember to send thank you notes and follow up if anyone has asked you to provide additional information.
Leave enough time to find your way to the Admissions Office so you’re on time for your info session or tour— often, campus parking is a challenge. Once you arrive at Admissions, don’t forget to sign in.
Reach out to any current students you know. They can tell you the things an admissions rep won’t cover during the info session. Ask them to walk you through the parts of campus not covered on the tour, introduce you to their friends and even visit their sorority or fraternity house.
Arrange to sit in on a class, eat at the cafeteria and spend time at the student center. Notice what students are doing— are they studying while eating or chatting and laughing? Jot down your impressions— by the time you arrive back home it’ll be difficult to remember which school had the good food and where you noticed the students seemed the happiest.
Note how you feel as you walk through campus— can you see yourself attending college here?
More helpful tips on getting the most out of a campus visit can be found on The Choice.