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"How To Make The Most Out of Your College Visits!"

Visiting a college campus is crucial to the college decision-making process. The college tour is probably the single most important part of a student’s college search.

When students see and experience a campus firsthand, they should be getting the real answers to questions they have. Here is some advice to get the most out of your college visits:

  • Be informed before you go. Study all college websites and read any literature that schools send to you. Make note of any concerns or questions you have. Schedule all college visits in advance.
  • Consider the college factors that are important to you. it is wise to determine what criteria is important to you before you take a college visit so you are able to evaluate each school as you see it.
  • Take the tour, but don’t make hasty generalizations. It is important to take an official college tour with a tour guide. This way you will get an overview of what the college looks like and what it has to offer. But, it is up to you to seek out the places that will be important to you if you become a student there. Don’t judge a college by the tour guide.
  • Be observant. Pick up a college student newspaper and read it. Watch the students who are walking around the campus and get a feel for the school’s culture. Look for sponsored events that the school supports.
  • Always take advantage of a personal interview. While some schools do not do personal interviews, always try to schedule one if they do. This gives a college admissions officer a chance to get to know you better and an opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have
  • Talk to students on campus. Do they appear to be friendly and helpful? Do they seem interested and interesting? Ask how they like the school and whether they would choose it again. Find out what they like the most and the least about the college.
  • Schedule a meeting with a coach, theater or music professor. This should be done at least three weeks before your college visit. These people are busy and they need to block out the necessary time to make your college tour worthwhile.
  • See as much as you can. Most students and their families like to look at the residence halls and eat in one of the student cafeterias. If it is possible to sit in on a class that interests you, do it. Take time to look at the surrounding area and decide whether it is a location that you would enjoy.
  • Ask about an overnight visit: Although it definitely requires more time, this allows prospective applicants to attend classes with an enrolled student and to get an idea of what college life on that campus is all about.
  • Be on time and dress appropriately. It is important that you do not keep people waiting so plan on traffic and have enough time to use the restroom once you arrive. Clothes can be casual, but you should look neat and wear shoes that are comfortable.
  • Use good manners. Don’t talk with your parents when you are on a college tour because you will distract others and the tour guide. Don’t allow your parents to monopolize the information sessions with too many questions. When you return home, it is always polite to write a handwritten note to anyone who interviews you or takes additional time to help you understand whether the college is a good fit for you.