Make the most of campus visits

basalt-pillars_19-100584Everyone talks about the importance of visiting campuses before choosing a college, but what are you supposed to do there? And how do you make the most of your college tours? Here are some quick and easy ways to get the most out of your campus visits.

•    Allow plenty of time. The earlier you start exploring colleges, the better. Many students begin to research colleges in their freshman year. It will give you much more time to really get a feel for the options available and what’s best for you, without any time pressures.

•    Plan ahead. Make a list of questions you’d like to find out answers to during your college tours. This will help your fact finding mission.

•    Make the most of vacation. Heading out of state?  Take the opportunity to visit some college campuses nearby.

•    Get the inside scoop. Chat online with students at the schools you’re interested in, before you schedule your college visits. This way you can get some first-hand knowledge before you head out on campus tours.

•    Participate! Try the school on for size by sitting in on a class, cheering on the college team, or visiting a campus club that you’re interested in.

•    Get advice. Ask your tour guides and other students on campus why they chose to attend the school. Find out their likes and dislikes.  You’ll find out a lot more than you will in any college brochure!

•    Explore financial aid. Take some time to visit the financial aid office and ask about scholarships, grants, and work-study opportunities that you may be a good fit for.

•    Participate in an informational interview. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear firsthand from an admissions officer what they feel makes the school stand out.

•    Be a good observer. Take the extra time to stroll across campus and get a sense of what’s happening.

•    Get the news. Check out the university’s Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube pages and the school paper to see what’s happening on campus and what issues are important to students there.

•    Document your journey. Take some pictures or video, and jot down your initial thoughts about the campus. It’s a great way to review your impressions later on when making your final college choices.

•    Take some time. Don’t make an impulse decision. Take some time after your campus visits to absorb what you’ve learned and talk with more people at the schools you’re considering.

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