Campus visits are a great way to get an up close look at what really goes on at a college. If you’re not able to travel far, visit schools close to home and take online tours for schools you can’t get to. Reach out to your guidance counselor for help making an initial list of schools to visit.
Don’t miss the opportunity to get a full look at all each school has to offer by reviewing the admissions sections of websites for info session and campus tour schedules. Determine whether reservations are required and coordinate timing with any other appointments you may want to make with faculty members or a coach.
Tours give you a look at what campus facilities have to offer. You’ll see a 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.
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.
Things you can do on campus to have a first hand experience:
- 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 you can ask current students:
- 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.