Visiting a college campus is the best way to get a real feel for a school. Most offer tours, usually led by students, and info sessions, typically conducted by members of Admissions. You may also want to meet with a faculty member or a coach while you’re there. Check a school’s website before you visit for their schedule and to determine whether reservations are required, and to coordinate timing with any other appointments you make. Participating in tours and info sessions demonstrate your interest to Admissions, so don’t forget to sign in when you arrive.
A tour gives you a look at what the campus facilities have to offer. You’ll see the school through a current student’s eyes and have a chance to ask questions.
Questions for your tour guide
- Does the school provide housing for all four years? If yes, do most students stay on campus? If no, how hard is it to find off campus housing?
- What portion of the students join sororities and fraternities?
- What clubs and extracurriculars are offered?
- What’s your favorite thing about the school? What, if anything, has disappointed you?
- How available are professors for extra help?
- Are tutors available?
- Are you assigned a freshman advisor? Is there a supportive advisory system?
Info sessions give you the chance to learn about the school from Admissions staff who will make a formal presentation followed by Q & A. Ask questions, but ask only those that can’t be answered on the school’s website. In preparation for your visit browse around the website to get smart.
Questions to ask at the Admissions info session
- What is the average class size?
- What percentage of classes are taught by professors versus teaching assistants?
- Is study abroad encouraged? What percent of students participate?
- What is the total cost of attending?
- What type of financial assistance is available?
- What percentage of students receive the aid they require?
- What career service support is offered for summer and full-time opportunities?
- What jobs are available on campus for students who want to work part-time?
Spend time after the tour and info session exploring the campus. Engage in campus life to get a first hand experience. Look around — notice what students are doing.
A day in the life of a student
- Eat in the cafeteria.
- Visit the student center.
- Sit in on a class.
- Talk with current students.
- Read the school newspaper.
- Check out the bulletin boards around campus.
- If you can, take the time to explore the surrounding neighborhood and town.
Ask students the questions you really want the answers to, but don’t want to ask on your tour and info session.
Questions to ask students on campus
- Where do most students study?
- How much time do you spend on school work each day?
- Do students stay on campus for the weekends?
- What do you do for fun?
- Do students feel pressured to join Greek life? What’s the process like?
- What are the biggest campus traditions?
- Do students get involved in the surrounding community?
- What do you like best (and least)about the school?
Throughout the day, take notes and photos to help you remember details from your visit. Once you’re back home, it’ll be difficult to remember which school had the good food and where you noticed the students seemed the happiest.
If there’s someone you want to follow up with, ask for their contact info. Use an envelope to collect and save business cards from school reps you meet. Remember to send thank you notes and follow up if you’ve been asked to provide additional information.