Visiting colleges is an important step in the college selection process. A first-hand look consisting of an information session and tour will provide the student with a basis for comparison and will enable the student to refine his or her idea of what to look for in a college. Initially, the list should include a mix of large and small schools, public and private in a variety of locations (urban, suburban and rural).
When to Visit
Before visiting, check out the college’s web site and call or e-mail the college to request information. Try to plan your visits when school is in session. Spring break during sophomore year is not too early to begin to visit some nearby schools. During junior year, visits can be planned in early September, Columbus Day weekend, Martin Luther King and President’s weekend, rather than waiting until spring break.
Plan Your Trip
Before visiting, check out the college’s web site and call or e-mail the college to request information. A useful resource is a map that designates the location of colleges. Such maps may be obtained at www.collegemaps.com.
The basic visit requires two or three hours and includes a student-led tour and an information session. Do not plan to visit more than two schools a day and allow ample traveling time between schools. Once you have determined your itinerary call the school or consult the school’s web page for available dates, tour times and time of information sessions. Some colleges require appointments; plan on booking your visit two weeks in advance.
On campus, take a self-directed tour and eat a meal in the cafeteria. Look at posters on bulletin boards and try to speak with students other than the tour guide. If applicable, make appointments with coaches or faculty in your area of academic interest.
Take in the sights and sounds of the campus, sense the energy and watch how the students interact – in this way you will gain impressions not found on the college web sites.
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