College visits are a crucial part of the college application process. They offer prospective students an opportunity to explore the campus, learn about the school’s culture, and get a feel for the academic programs. Visiting a college can help a student determine if they would be a good fit for the school, ultimately leading to more successful applications and a better overall college experience.
Many students decide whether or not to attend a college based on a campus visit. It is not uncommon for students who previously discounted a college to do an “about-face” after experiencing the school in person. We have created the ultimate roadmap to college visits to help you clarify if the colleges you selected are a good fit for you.
The Importance of College Visits
During a college visit, students can meet with professors, admissions officers, and current students to gain insight into the academic and social aspects of the school. These interactions can help students understand the values and expectations of the institution, which can guide their application essays and interviews. Additionally, visiting a college can demonstrate a student’s genuine interest in the school, which can improve their chances of admission.
College visits can also help students narrow down their list of potential colleges. By experiencing the campus, facilities, and surrounding community firsthand, students can make informed decisions about where they would like to apply. This can save time and energy in the application process, as students can focus on schools that align with their interests and goals.
When you visit a college, you and your family can sit in on classes, talk to professors and students, observe the school’s atmosphere, and form your impressions of the school and its programs. You can research academic offerings, explore extracurriculars, and find out what students do in their free time (jobs and social activities).
You can find out much of this information online, but an in-person visit provides a broader and more defined view of campus life.
“A campus visit allows the student to experience the trip involved to get to the school, the people who are there, and the actual learning environment on campus. Seeing the dorms and dorm rooms, tasting the food, walking the campus—all these elements are critical to understanding if a student will actually be happy once he/she is a student there.” Douglas Christiansen (Vice Provost for Enrollment, Dean of Admissions, Vanderbilt University)
Roadmap for College Visits
- Plan ahead for your college visit. Pre-register for in-person and online information sessions, special campus tours, and/or meetings with faculty or coaches.
- Create a budget for in-person college visits.
- Explore colleges virtually before your in-person visits through sites like You Visit https://www.youvisit.com/collegesearch/.
- Talk to students about why they chose the college and what the school has to offer – both in and out of the classroom.
- Explore the school’s academic programs. Sit in on classes when available and talk to professors in your target major.
- Visit a dorm, eat in a dining hall, and roam around the student center to absorb the campus culture.
- Attend a game or an event sponsored by a student organization.
- Ask questions about available financial aid, academic support programs, and campus security.
- View the school from a social media perspective. Check out the college’s social media accounts and run a search for the college’s name on various social media platforms.
- Document your visit and share photos on your social media accounts.
One Step Further
After you complete each college visit, reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and observations. These questions will help spur your writing:
- What did you like or dislike about the college?
- What are your thoughts about the school’s academic programs and reputation? Extracurricular activities? Students and faculty members? Support options? Overall campus atmosphere?
- What surprised you most during the college visit?
- How did this college compare to other colleges you have visited?
- Could you see yourself attending school and living there for four years?
In summary, college visits are vital to the college application process. They provide valuable information about the school, help students make informed decisions, and demonstrate a genuine interest to the admissions officers. By taking the time to visit colleges, students can increase their chances of admission and find the right college for their academic and personal growth.