Z. Kelly Queijo
Ah, Fall! It's a beautiful time of year to visit a college campus. Scenic drives and crisp morning air lead to brisk walks around campus where anticipation of life as a college student co-mingles with the energy of an already active student body. It's a fine time to visit colleges. And, to get the most from your visit, it only takes a little advance planning.
Most colleges offer campus tours and information sessions on weekdays, when classes are in session. Holidays may be exceptions, so always check with the college to make sure the adissions office will be open and find out if there any changes to the tour schedule that day. Advance registration may or may not be required.
Fall Open House/ Fall Preview Days
In addition to weekday visits, many colleges will host open houses or preview days on select weekends. The advantage of a weekend program is that students and parents may not have to miss school or work for a campus visit. Another advantage is that the open houses are structured programs with agendas that typically include sessions on academics, college life, and financial aid in addition to the tradtional campus tour. And, you will likely have a chance to meet with current students and ask them questions. Advance registration is usually required.
Visit a Classroom / Meet with a Professor
Adding a meeting with a prof or wanting to sit in on a lecture requires advance planning. Two weeks prior to your visit is usually enough time to schedule this. Contact the admissions office to make arrangements. An alternative is to search YouTube for the name of the professor or class at the college/university that interests you. At the very least, you'll have some knowledge about the professor or class before you visit.
Exploring online campus tours, college tour videos and mobile campus guides are all great ways to learn about a school prior to your on-site visit. They don't cost anything and you don't have to leave home to "visit." A virtual visit a terrific supplement to the in-person visit, and can give a sense of familiarity before you set off to experience the real thing.
Campus Visit Planning Tips
- Create a special email address that you will use just for your college search. This way, your incoming mailbox only contains information from colleges.
- Share the password with your parents so confirmations, updates, and deadlines don't get missed.
- Wear comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate shoes. You will tour campus by foot even if it rains, so be prepared for both comfort and weather.
- Plan your questions in advance so you won't forget to ask what's important to you.
- Take notes, evaluate your visit so that when it's time to apply it's easy to review what you liked or didn't like about a particular college.
Have any tips you'd like to share?