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College Campus Visit

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College visits allow you to get a feel for campus life and how you might succeed on campus.

The process of choosing a school and applying to college can seem daunting. One effective way to narrow your search for the right school is by visiting college campuses to get a feel for the student experience there.

You can make the most of your campus visit by planning what to do ahead of time. Use this primer to help you plan a college campus visit and learn about the benefits a campus visit offers.

Campus Visit Checklist

Before a prospective campus visit, create a checklist that addresses these actions:

  • Prepare a list of questions

    Prepare questions to ask while you are on campus, such as "What clubs do you have on campus?" and "What is the average class size?" That way, you won't miss anything important.

  • Coordinate tours and visits

    Sign up for campus tours and arrange visits to departments and campus areas relevant to your interests.

  • Arrange meetings with professors

    Schedule meetings with professors from departments you are interested in to get a feel for your prospective educational experience.

  • Familiarize yourself with the campus map

    Browse the campus map to get a basic idea of your walking path.

  • Create a budget for the visit

    Keep your visit economical by establishing a budget.

  • Arrange other useful meetings

    Arrange meetings with students, staff, and anyone else whose opinion might help your decision-making process.

What to Do During Your Visit

While visiting a campus, consider doing the following:

  • Take a campus tour: A campus tour can help you get a feel for the campus, give you a chance to ask questions, and help you meet other students and faculty.
  • Sit in on a course: Joining a course helps you get a sense of class sizes and the overall educational experience at your prospective school.
  • Visit student hangouts: Visit typical student hangouts, such as the dorms, the student union, the gym, and the cafeteria.
  • Pick up the student newspaper: Browse the student newspaper to get a feel for campus culture.
  • Get financial aid information: Meet with a financial advisor or admission officer to go over important financial aid information.
  • Talk to a professor in your chosen major: A face-to-face meeting with a professor in your major can help you gauge if this school's program fits your needs.
  • Explore the area surrounding campus: Check out nearby restaurants, coffee shops, and recreational areas to get a sense for the local community.

Visiting a college campus can benefit you in many ways. Meeting face to face with students and professors can help you gauge the educational experience offered by a school much better than merely reading promotional materials. You can also get vital financial aid information and visit student hangouts and housing.

However, you may not have time to do everything on this list, so make sure you prioritize items according to your interests to make the most of your campus visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are College Campus Tours Free?

Yes, college campus tours are usually free. Occasionally, you may even receive complimentary gifts, such as t-shirts, hoodies, or mugs, for going on a campus visit tour.

Do Campus Visits Matter?

Visiting a college campus can be the deciding factor when you're making up your mind whether or not to attend a prospective school. For instance, a school might seem perfect on paper, but if you visit and fail to connect with professors or the surrounding community, you might realize that school isn't a good choice for you.

Do Colleges Care if You Visit?

Colleges typically keep track of student interest by logging email communications with admissions and department staff, scheduled campus visits, and attendance at college fairs or informational sessions. A strong demonstrated interest in a school may even positively influence your chances of admission.

Should Parents Go on College Tours?

Schools typically welcome parents to go on college tours alongside students. While on the tour, parents may remember to ask questions you might forget, and they can help in your decision-making process afterward.

Header Image Credit: Maskot | Getty Images

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