One of the very best ways to tell if you really like a college is to visit the campus. There is really no substitute for this because you can feel the vibe of the campus and see if you feel that you would fit in there. It is a great way to narrow your college list!
Here are some tips for getting the most out of your visit!
1. Visit when students are on campus
This is key because you need to see if you will really fit in there, so by all means, try to visit during the school year (spring is a great time!) Don’t be afraid to talk to students, too.
2. Try very hard to visit on a day with good weather
I know this isn’t always possible, but it is a collegiate truth that kids rarely apply where they visit if the weather is bad. So funny, but so true! Try to ignore the weather if it is bad that day!
3. Don’t judge a school by the tour guide
These people vary in quality and training and personality, so your tour guide has nothing to do with what your experience could be like at that school. If the tour guide is dull, the school is not dull. If the tour guide is obsessed with engineering or soccer or fashion, not every student on campus is obsessed with that!
4. Try to sit in on classes
This is a great way to see the intellectual climate of the school in action. The Admissions office can arrange this. Just students, no parents. Your parents can go have a coffee…
5. Make sure your visit is scheduled through the office of admissions
Make sure it is an official, registered visit because schools like to know when you show interest and so zooming by the campus on the way to Aunt Helen’s is not something they will know about and so it won’t help your case. Register!
6. Be polite to your parents
You are being watched when you are a guest on campus, so keep that teenage eye-rolling under control. Your parents are not idiots or weirdos or social oddities, and as the people footing the bill for this gig, they should be allowed to ask a question or two (but not ten). Settle it in the car: “Two questions, Dad”, and “Ok, no eye-rolling, Hayley.”
7. TAKE NOTES
It’s not nerdy, it’s smart. That’s why nerds get ahead. But seriously, campuses all can start to blend together in a mind on a whirlwind tour of several, so take notes and pictures and always debrief with your parents in the car.
8. Get the names of anyone you meet
Ask for their card and send a little thank you note. It’s good manners. 🙂