The One About Campus Visits
When you’re shopping for a new car what do you do?
Do you hit up the internet to start your research? Yes.
Do you suddenly notice every advertisement for cars? Yep. Funny how that happens.
Do your friends chime in with opinions whether you asked for it or not? Of course.
Do you scour over the reports and rankings? You might.
But what is the one thing that gives you a real sense of the car? Taking it on a test drive.
That’s right. You need to see it up close. You need to get behind the wheel. How else will you know for sure what it feels like and if it’s the right fit for you?
The same thing is true during the college search process. Go visit the campus!
Colorful brochures and websites will only tell you so much. Get on campus. You may be looking at a large school, but you won’t know what 30,000 students feels like until you visit. Take a tour. Ask questions. Try to visualize yourself at the school.
Here are ten things to make the most of your campus visit:
- Schedule a tour and information session. Sign up in advance because spots can fill up quickly especially during summer and spring break. Grab business cards so you have an admissions contact.
- Visit the dining hall. Pro tip: Eat!
- Go by the career services center. What services do they offer? How long are those services available to you after you graduate?
- Pick up literature in the financial aid office. Pick up business cards so you have a contact.
- Swing by the campus rec center/gym. What are their hours? Is it crowded?
- View the dorms. Is housing guaranteed for underclassmen? Pro tip: Arrange to stay overnight in the dorms.
- Locate the buildings for your major. Pro tip: Talk to students and professors.
- Visit the sports fields. Are intramural sports available?
- Find the health center. What services do they provide?
- Venture around on your own. Check out things on campus that are important to you like local activities, fraternity/sorority houses, research facilities, libraries, coffee shops, etc.
Class 101 recommends visiting TEN college campuses.
TEN!? I know, that seems like a lot. Remember, this is a major decision. It is four years of your life, a large financial investment, and setting the stage for your future. Start early in your high school career. Visit some each year. Take advantage of the summer and spring break. Take the time to find the college that is the right fit for you. Class 101 believes in the 10-7-5 rule. Visit 10 campuses. Apply to 7. Love 5 of those 7. If you can visualize yourself happy and fulfilled on 5 of those campuses, then you are making the decision. The decision isn’t making you.
Can’t make it to all the schools on your list?
Take a virtual tour. Many schools offer online virtual tours on their websites or you can use a site like ecampustours.comHear from actual college students by watching videos on campusreel.org. Tour a college near your home or vacation spot. It may not be the school you are planning to attend; however, you can get a feel for certain aspects of a campus like the population size, or type of city, etc. Getting on campuses reminds you what you’re working toward. It is not easy. It is worth it. Remember to find joy in the journey.
Check out my “Cypress College Tour” post for a list of different types of local colleges for Cypress residents to visit.
About the Author
Kathy Jones is a professional Class 101 College Advisor. Class 101 guides you and your college-bound student through the complex steps leading to college admission. Follow Kathy on Instagram @class101cypress and LIKE on Facebook.