Choosing a college requires thoughtful and careful planning. You want to find the best school for you; one that fits your talents, abilities and goals. Doing so will ensure your success right out of college.
One of the ways to help you choose a college is to visit the campus. Most schools run tours and appointments with admissions representatives. Visiting schools is a great way to bring the brochure to life and help you decide which fits you best.
Follow these tips for a successful campus visit.
Contact the admissions office
Your appointment with the admissions office is your opportunity to have all your questions about the college answered. Plan to spend a good amount of time in the admissions office so you can learn everything you need in order to evaluate the school. Be sure to ask about:
• Academics: majors, class size, policies, accessibility of the professors, admission requirements
• Financial: costs, financial aid, work-study programs, jobs in the area
• Housing and living: food, on-campus dorms, transportation, health centers and wellness centers
• Extracurriculars: intramural sports, Greek life, academic and social clubs, religious groups, volunteer groups, other out-of-class activities, social events
• Others activities: sports programs, art programs and volunteering opportunities
Make a list of questions before you visit the school to ensure you find out everything you need to know. Take notes during your visit so you can later distinguish differences among the schools you visited.
Take a campus tour
The admissions office is a good start, but that alone isn’t enough. If you can, take a student-run tour of the school. This will give you a better feel for the campus and its facilities.
As you tour/visit the campus, be sure to ask your tour guide questions, such as:
• Are the classrooms and labs equipped with the latest technology for your major?
• Are the dorms updated?
• What do students do on weekends?
Talk to others
Remember, the personnel in the admissions office are paid to tell you good things about the school. Take the time to talk to students and professors. The students are more likely to give you an unbiased point of view about the college. Ask students how they feel about the campus, who the best professors are and about their own experiences as freshmen.
Tour the surrounding area
When selecting a school, you should also consider its location. Do you prefer that the area is a big or small city? Is there suitable transportation to and from home? How are the recreation facilities?
Take the time to plan ahead. Doing so will ensure a more productive visit and might make your college decision easier.
Ross Blankenship is an admissions analyst and admissions counselor. He is also an author and co-founder of Miro Advantage and TopTestPrep.com, test prep and admissions.