A personal visit to a post-secondary institution is often the most useful step in helping students and their parents decide whether or not to apply to a particular school. Students are encouraged to make use of group tours, open house events, and group information sessions as a way of obtaining first-hand impressions of schools they have previously researched.
When Is a Good Time To Visit a College?
Students should begin planning college visits after they have given considerable thought to their abilities, interests, and career plans. They should also consult with their counselor and utilize the material available in the Career Center.
Visits during the college’s regular academic year provide a more accurate view of the academic and social life of a campus, but families often make use of summer vacation to visit several schools that are at a distance. Where possible, it is a good idea to avoid the distortions of registration, final exams and special campus events such as homecomings or festivals. Some students begin visiting colleges during the spring of their junior year, while others visit campuses during the summer between the junior and senior year. Some students prefer to wait until the fall of their senior year.
Making Arrangements for a Campus Visit
Students should write or call the admissions office of the colleges in which they are interested two or three weeks in advance and make arrangements for a personal interview, if possible, and a tour of campus facilities. Some colleges, usually large universities, will grant only group interviews. At some of the most competitive schools, you may need to schedule an interview several months in advance. Some Ivy League schools do not grant a personal interview; they rely on alumnae/alumni interviews that are arranged after an application is on file.
A student should always register or sign in when visiting a college. Colleges keep track of campus visits and may use that information when deciding about an applicant.
Campus Visit Tips
Do take advantage of the campus tour often provided by the admissions office. The library, student union, freshmen housing, music, drama, and athletic facilities are areas to consider in addition to the academic classes and labs.
Do talk to students in the dorms, in the student union, at the bookstore, or wherever they congregate. A graduate of your own high school can be very helpful in describing his experience.
Do sit in on classes if you are given the opportunity.