Every college campus is different, which is why it’s important to visit the schools that you are seriously interested in attending for the upcoming Fall semester. Many students and parents underestimate the impact of the college visit, it’s the best way to get the most accurate portrayal of the school short of actually going to classes…and on a majority of the campuses, you can actually sit in on one or two of those for a brief period as well. Everyone approaches the campus visit differently, but here are a few of the basics that every high school graduate and their parents will want to keep in mind.
Ask a Lot of Questions
Chances are many of the campuses are located far from home. So before you arrive at each one, have a list of questions prepared. When you meet with any staff, faculty, admissions representatives, and students you’ll be armed and ready with the inquiries that concern you most. Ask all kinds of questions, be as specific as you want, get to the heart of what it’s like to go to school at Maryville University. Find out everything there is to know about daily life, the routines, the classes, the curriculum, and if you already have a major in mind then visit that department and pick the brains of everyone you meet.
Don’t be shy, this is important stuff. Talk to some students and get their frank opinion of their experiences, many of them will likely be complimentary and positive, but you’ll also get truthful feedback that you may not get from the school administrators or your tour guide.
Make the Most of your Time
That means choosing the right time to go and arranging certain aspects of the visit ahead of your arrival. Try to plan your trip during a semester, so you can see the school at normal capacity with classes in session and all of the other aspects of campus life in full swing. You won’t get a very accurate depiction of the school during Christmas Break and you probably won’t get to talk to as many people about their experiences since they won’t be around.
You’ll also want to arrange meetings with any professors or faculty in the department of your major and some campuses allow for overnight stays if you plan them in advance. Take advantage of every opportunity.
Talk to the Financial Aid Department
If you’re planning on applying for financial aid, then this is a must. Stop by and discuss the variety of financing options that are available. This is often a very important component of the college auditing process for many prospective students and it can play a large role in choosing one school over another. While you’re visiting the campus, make sure you put the financial aid department on your list of stops.
Keep a Journal
Writing down your thoughts can help you organize them all later. The more visits you plan to make, the easier it will be for all of them to start to run together in your mind. You may forget some pros or cons about the school you visited first and the most recent one may hold more sway on your decision than it should. Jotting down some thoughts will keep all of the good and the bad from each visit fresh in your memories and you can refer to all of it after the visits are finished. This will be a big help when it comes time to make your decision and, take it from me, you’ll be very happy you did.