Making the Most of a College Visit

   With the spring approaching, many juniors are continuing or just beginning to visit colleges as one of the first steps in creating a college list. Even seniors are visiting one last time before making their final decisions. Visiting a college can be intimidating at first, with all the information the tour provides and trying to see if you can fit in on campus. But don’t worry Smart Girls, by following these tips you will be able to make the most of your college visit.

Research Before You Visit

Before setting foot on campus, take a look at the college’s website. Read up about academics and what activities are offered. By having a little background information about the school, some of the information given during the presentation or tour will sound familiar to you and it won’t seem too overwhelming. Researching beforehand can also come in handy if you find something interesting or confusing that you want more information on. That way you can see if it is brought up or if not, make it a point to ask a tour guide or admissions counselor while there.

Sit in on a Class

Although a campus tour will provide a good overview of  academics and student life on campus, what better way to see firsthand what the school is like than sitting in on a class. Many colleges offer this option to prospective students. If you know what major you plan on studying or have a specific interest, try to sit in on a class in that area as a way to see students in the classroom. If the college you are visiting doesn’t offer this option, call the admissions office to see if they could set something up for you.

Talk to Current Students

Since tour guides are there to sell their school to you, talking to students not involved with admissions can help give you real information about the school. Most students are more than happy to answer any questions that you have and since they are not affiliated with the campus tour program, they aren’t afraid to talk more about what they like and dislike about the school.

Explore on your Own

After taking the campus tour, don’t be afraid to stray from the group and walk around on your own. See where the students hang out on campus or go into the some of the buildings if you can that weren’t covered on the tour. Eat lunch in the dining hall to get a taste for the food. Look and see if students look happy and are having fun or if they look stressed or unhappy.

Keep Track

After visiting many schools, they can all blur together and it can be hard to remember which was which. Write down notes after each visit about what you liked and disliked about the school. If you like more of a visual representation of the school, take pictures of the campus as a way to remember.

The college search process can be an extremely difficult, yet rewarding time and the college visit is an essential aspect of the process. With these few tips, visiting schools will be a breeze and will really help in choosing a college.

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Kaitlyn Mitchell

Kaitlyn Mitchell is a writer for the High School section of the Smart Girls Group. She is a sophomore at Villanova University, majoring in English with a minor in Business. Aside from writing, she is involved with community service and greek life on campus and loves to read, shop and travel.

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