June 15, 2015

How to Get the Most Out Of Your College Visit

A lot of information is passed along during college visits, so here's a list of tips and tricks that can help you get the most out of your visit. 

  • Take Your Time   You'll be spending 4+ years at whatever university or college you choose so it's really important to make sure you love not only the school, but the town surrounding it. Try to spend at least one day and night or more in the town, go out and explore, get a feel for the local culture and try to picture yourself living there
  • Notebook   You'll see this a lot, and it's a great tip: bring a notebook with you so you can write down thoughts and questions as you think of them....after visiting several colleges in a short amount of time you'll forget what you loved about each unless you write it down
  • Interviews and Class Tours   Many schools offer interviews when you visit and sometimes you can sit in on classes during the school year: if you're visiting during the summer this is normally not available for you however this is a great way to get a genuine feel for classes
  • Info Session   An information session is pretty standard for those taking tours, it usually lasts less than an hour and includes a sit down with an administrator, teacher, dean, or student to give background on the college and take any questions--it's a great place to fill up your notebook with notes 
  • Research!   The night before you visit the school do more extensive research into your intended major, what you love about the school, and any questions you might think of. It's a really great place to get some solid background before you actually take the tour. Also try to brainstorm any questions you may have and write these down in your notebook so you remember to ask them. 
  • Questions   Ask questions as they come to you! Don't be afraid to ask about classes, dorms, teachers, students, clubs, sports, financial aid....anything! This is what the tour is here for!
  • Dress   Don't lose or change your personal style, just go more conservative and dressy-casual for your tour. You want to present your best foot forward for this tour so covering up maybe more than is normal is better. Think dresses with jackets, blouses or formal button-downs with jeans or formal pants....depending on the weather vary as you go. Also: comfortable shoes! These are an absolute must, don't make my mistake of wearing new shoes on your tour--hello blisters!
Overall just trust your gut about the school. If you visit and you just aren't feeling it, you can't picture yourself attending for four years and spending some ungodly amount of money for an education....don't apply. Simple as that. The way you fit the school is just as, if not more, important as the academics you are going for. Getting a good education is not worth being miserable for a big chunk of your life--there are plenty of other schools you'll feel right at home at. 

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