The public relations and marketing efforts by college and university admissions offices are focused on getting prospective students to visit campus. The materials, whether in print, video, or on the Web, typically address the strength of the school's academic programs, the beauty of their campus and any outstanding facilities, but is this always what an international student experiences on a campus visit? A. Richards, a high school student from England, shares his impression of his college visits to three schools in the U.S.
UVA & Virginia Tech:
"This past summer, I had the pleasure of visiting UVA and Virginia Tech officially with a tour guide. Both were impressive, and left me with a good attitude towards university life in the states. In both cases, it really struck me just how much of a sense of community there was. It’s something that you don’t really get in English universities. The few universities I have visited over here, such as Exeter, have a good academic background, but to me they lack the society that is so commonly seen in universities in America. It's one of the main reasons that I’m quite eager to study in the U.S., because I feel I’ll enjoy my college life more and ultimately achieve more in my studies."
"I didn’t actually have an official tour of the campus, but I did,
however, go to see a basketball game. That game was truly amazing, and
I’ll remember it for a long time no doubt. Although, I didn’t get a
good look at the campus, I could tell that there was a fantastic
community in the university just from seeing the ecstatic fans at the
end of the court. I came to the conclusion that if they were to become
so crazed about their university, it must be something pretty special."
Life on U.S. College Campuses:
"In all three cases, I was more or less equally interested by the grounds themselves. I love how most American colleges are like little towns in themselves. You can tell where the university starts and where its grounds reach. My opinion may be biased when compared to that with English universities, as I haven’t see many, but from what I’ve seen, campuses basically morph into the town where they’re based and I see that as a negative because you don’t know whether you’re in that community or not."
"I think that in UK colleges, University tends to be just a part of your life, whereas in America, University is your life. Perhaps that’s the reason why so many Americans pride themselves on where they studied, as they had more involvement with their university in the time they studied there."
When asked how he will make his final decision about where to apply, Richards replied, "In the end, it’ll be what the university has to offer to me academically that will close the deal on which college best suits my learning needs and aspirations."