Choosing a college can be overwhelming. Daunting. Extremely, extremely intimidating. How do you know which college or university will offer challenging academic programs, a welcoming student community, or the professional opportunities you need to jumpstart your career?
While decision-making often requires time and thoughtful consideration, sometimes the most important factor is personal experience. This is why colleges provide opportunities for you to see typical student life through campus visits. Exploring a school in person can help you answer that endless list of questions and ultimately help determine if a college is right for you.
Going on your first college visit? Check out our tips and you’ll be strolling confidently across campus before you know it.
Do some research before you go.
Browse the college website and make a list of questions. Your campus visit experience will likely give you the opportunity to interact with current students, so this is your chance to ask about life on campus and hear from someone who has experienced it firsthand! Not sure what questions to ask? Check out this post for inspiration.
Go on a campus tour.
Tours are a well-loved staple of the college visit. They provide an informative and personalized guide to the campus itself, and are often led by current students who are eager to share stories from their own college experience. This Campus 101 could send you into information overload, so don’t be shy about taking notes to review later.
Look around to see what’s happening on campus.
While on your tour, browse flyers to get a sense for what happens on campus during a normal week. If you see a student newspaper, be sure to pick one up! This is a great way to learn what students are thinking, saying, and doing.
Schedule a meeting with a professor.
If you have the opportunity to connect with a faculty member, don’t turn it down! This is your chance to ask more detailed questions about a specific major and get a feel for what it’s like to interact with professors on campus. If you’re interested in meeting with a faculty member, ask an admissions counselor before your visit if it’s an option.
Talk to current students.
It seems intimidating, but take a chance! Find a friendly-looking face and ask them what they think of their classes, professors, and college life in general.
Eat lunch in the campus dining center.
Colleges often offer you the chance to enjoy a meal in their dining facilities. Definitely take advantage of the opportunity to sample a few options. After all, as a student, you’ll likely eat there multiple times a week. Besides, free food is always a plus!
Explore on your own during free time.
At the end of the day, don’t be afraid to wander the campus or explore the surrounding community. Drop by a coffee shop for a treat or stake out a bench in a nearby park. Drive around the neighborhood—can you see yourself living there?
Don’t forget to process!
When your college visit is over, pause to reflect on your day. Jot down your overall impressions of the college or any follow-up questions that come to mind. Talking to your family and friends about your experience can be helpful, too. Choosing a college is an important decision, and dedicating a few moments to analyze can make a significant impact when selecting your best fit.
If you still aren’t sure where to attend college after your visit, fear not. The college visit is only one of many factors that may impact your decision, and there’s nothing wrong with slowing down to enjoy the process one step at a time!