Make the Most of Your Campus Tour With These College Visit Tips
Fall is the best time to plan college visits. School is in session, the campus is alive, and you’re most likely in the process of developing or narrowing down your balanced college list.
While we advise students to register for information sessions and an official guided tour, there is more to a campus visit than just showing up and looking around.
So how do you get the most out of your campus visit in order to make an informed decision about whether or not to apply or attend? Here are five tips to help you make the most of your college visit.
Be present! It’s not enough to just show up. During your information session and tour, be engaging, ask thoughtful questions, and participate in discussions. During the tour, stand at the front so you can hear what the tour guide is saying. Be sure to take photos and just have a good time! College visits, while necessary to make an informed decision about where to apply, should also be fun! You’ll get the most out of your visit if you’re committed to learning and participating.
Take good notes. Probably one of the most important things you can do while on a college visit is take thorough, detailed notes about the campus, school’s history, courses, and any other points of interest that you think my influence your decision when it comes time to apply. Apart from notes on admission requirements and what you need to do to apply, take detailed notes on what you see on campus, the buildings and other visual elements. This will come in handy should you need to write a “Why this college?” essay.
Sit in on a class. This is why you visit colleges in the fall. Not only do you get an authentic sense of the campus atmosphere because school is in session, you can also experience a class first-hand. Many schools offer visiting families the opportunity to sit in on a class, so if you have the chance, do it! When registering for your tour and information session, ask if attending a class is possible and what you need to do to sign up. Make sure it doesn’t interfere with other planned tours or information sessions, but certainly work it into the schedule.
If possible, stay overnight in one of the dorms. This is another campus life experience that many schools offer to visiting students, and you should take advantage of it if you have the opportunity. Staying overnight in a dorm not only completes the experience, but it also lets you experience a day in the life of a college student at this institution. Again, when planning your college visit see if this is an option and sign up!
Take time to explore on your own. While it’s important to do the official tour and information sessions, it’s also a good idea to take some time to explore the campus and surrounding community on your own. After your official visit is over (never leave early to explore solo!), take some time to walk around campus and explore points of interest that you spotted on the tour. Also explore the surrounding community and town. Remember, you’re not going to be confined to campus all four years so make sure the city is appealing to you as well!
What other tips do you have for making the most of your college visit? Tell us in the comments below, and for more campus visit advice, check out our College Visit Dos and Don’ts.