Updated January 2019
After the research on colleges is complete, applications submitted, and offers of admission made, next comes… decision time and the admitted student campus visit. What is that exactly? It comes in many names, and many forms.
Preview Day. Freshman Focus. Connect. Meet and Greet.
Admitted student visit days are about giving the student the opportunity for one last look at school before deciding where to spend the next four years of college life, no matter what they’re called. The college wants you! Now, you have to decide if you want the college.
We surveyed admissions consultants Jeannie Borin and John Carpenter, along with Jane Kulow, mother of an admitted college student, for their advice on the admitted student campus visit, and we compiled their best advice.
Additionally, Jane shared this bit of information from her son, the student: “Most noteworthy to remember: he spent many hours working on his application materials trying to make himself attractive to these schools. Now that they have invited him to attend, this is their opportunity to try to woo him. It was his time to fully participate, appreciate and enjoy all the colleges had to offer him.”
Therefore, before we dive into the questions to consider, give yourself a pat on the back. While the decision hasn’t been made on your side yet, you’ve been asked to join communities you were already interested in, and that’s a good problem to have. Congratulations!
Questions to Ask at the College
Academics (Will it work for me?)
- What happens if I change my major?
- How will I obtain credit for AP, IB and/or college level courses completed?
- What leadership opportunities does the honors program offer?
- Are there internship or study abroad opportunities for my major?
- Here is what I’m interested in studying… Can I put together this sort of interdisciplinary program here?
Lifestyle (Will I like it here?)
- Are students active in student organizations? In extracurricular groups?
- Do students participate in community based projects?
- Do the faculty and students seem to be friendly?
- How long can I live on campus?
Cost (Can I afford it?)
- What does an average semester monthly budget look like?
- What are the hidden costs — those beyond tuition, room and board, books and student fees?
- Are there scholarship opportunities in my major once I am enrolled?
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What values can I identify that are important to this college? Are they important values to me?
- How is this school different from the other schools where I’ve been admitted and am considering?
- Can I recognize the purpose of the weekend is to get me to like this school?
- Can I get what I’m looking for, and do what I want to do — learn, participate, lead, grow — at this college?
- Does this college feel right? Why/why not?
Admitted Student Campus Visit: Reach Out With Your Feelings, Luke
Finally, both parents and students should remember that the admitted student campus visit is far more evaluative than the more exploratory, traditional visit. This stage of decision-making is a lot like a chess game, with lots of thinking ahead, and various strategies. The important thing to remember is that college really is what you make of it. Wherever you enroll, you will find tremendous opportunities to learn, grow, and connect.
John Carpenter blogs at Ask John About College and is author of Going Geek: What Every Smart Kid (and Every Smart Parent) Should Know About College Admissions.
Jane Kulow, mother of three teens, chronicles her family’s college-bound journey at Dr. Strange College.