How to get the most out of your campus visit

This post was previously published on August 3, 2010.

Visiting college campuses is one of the most important parts of the college search process. How will you get a feel for what a place is truly like unless you see it in person? That said, here are some tips to make sure you have the best possible experience on campus.

  • Call ahead when you plan to visit campus so that you can be scheduled for a tour. Admission offices will do their best to accommodate you if you arrive unannounced, but some might have limited appointments or be unable to find a tour guide on short notice.
  • If you want to see a particular part of campus, meet with a faculty member or athletic coach, or eat a meal in the dining hall, ask! Admission offices can typically make arrangements for you, but be sure to make your request before arriving on campus. It’s helpful for admission staff to have at least a week to set up special visits.
  • The best time to visit is during the week (Monday through Friday) when classes are in session. Summer and Christmas break are not as good; you won’t get an accurate picture of campus life when students are not on campus.
  • Make two list of questions – one list to ask an admission counselor and one for students. It’s especially important to talk to students – they aren’t paid to say nice things about their school, and they will tell you the truth.
  • Document your trip! Jot down a few notes on your way home so that you can remember things you liked or disliked. Some students take photos or video of campus. This is a great idea, because it will help you remember the schools you’ve seen. Campus visits start to run together after a while.
A perfect autumn day on campus

A perfect autumn day on campus

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