June 21, 2023
The summer is a time of relaxation and fun. Without the busyness brought by school, clubs, and other activities, it can be a time to catch up on important tasks or explore new places.
One kind of place that many students explore during the summer are college campuses. Without having to worry about missing class or doing homework on the road, many students use the months of June, July, and August to travel the country and see if certain colleges are right for them.
In this blog, we’ll talk about a few things you and your family can do to get the most out of their visits. These tips are useful to not ensure students can get into a college, but to ensure that the college they pick is the right fit for them.
Meet with Admissions to Establish a Relationship
It is critical when you visit a college campus to reach out to the Admissions Office. These offices are, by definition, meant to serve as the primary point of contact for all those interested in attending their school, providing useful information on programs, tuition and scholarships, and evaluating applications. In short, meeting prospective students is their job.
This outreach is useful for two separate reasons. First, meeting with an Admissions Officer can help connect you with resources that can help you better make a decision. An admissions officer might, for example, have information on classes and tuition that is otherwise not easily available on the website. They might also be able to connect you with others who can support you on your journey—whether that be faculty, alumni, or current students.
The second reason for reaching out to Admissions is to establish “demonstrated interest.” As noted by U.S. News and World Report, some colleges look for signs that prospective students are enthusiastic and curious about a school through the process to ensure they will accept when admitted. By reaching out and making an impression, you can demonstrate your interest and make yourself a more compelling candidate.
While many colleges allow you to arrange a campus tour through their websites, we personally recommend sending a personalized email to the Admissions Office to make sure that your visit is seen by another person. You can find a general email for most offices on their webpage or, alternatively, you can try to track down a specific officer with the help of your Class 101 advisor.
Meet with a Professor or Department Chair
While you are on campus, you might also find it beneficial to reach out to someone who can speak to your major or area of interest or about the overall offerings of your department.
If you are looking into forensic science, for example, a professor may be able to tell you what kinds of facilities they have available. They might speak to internships with local police and research centers that previous students have done. They might also speak to research opportunities or class dynamics that you might have previously been unaware of.
These meetings, which will often take place in a professor’s office, can also give you a better sense of a campus’s overall layout and let you explore more of a building. During your visit, you can ask yourself: Do I see myself walking these halls? Does this offer all that I want?
Visit the Surrounding Community
Finally, you might use a college visit to see what the surrounding area is like to see if it matches your impression of what you want your college experience to be like.
Ask yourself: Do you want to enjoy a vibrant city life or do you prefer nature and rural vistas? Do you want your campus to be within walking distance of a grocery store, bank, and other essentials or are you comfortable driving or taking public transportation? Do you want to live in a place with a temperate climate or one where it is warm all-year round?
These kinds of questions can help you ground yourself as you walk through a college town. If you can see yourself enjoying four years in a place, there’s a good chance it’s a good fit for you.
In this blog, we described three ways that you can make the most out of your college visit. If you’d like more tips, don’t hesitate to set up an appointment with a Class 101 College Advisor who can get you started down the right path.
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