Spring break and summer travel plans are on the minds of many families. Why not add a college visit into your itinerary? College visits are an integral part of the college process. They allow families to learn more about a particular college while also showing 'demonstrated interest.'
Contact the Admissions Office
Contact the admissions office a few weeks prior to your arrival. This will not only confirm the office is open that day, but it provides campus visit options to maximize your experience. Various options might include an interview with an admissions representative, sitting in on a class, talking to a specific academic department/program or having a personalized tour based upon your interests. Some schools will even provide a complimentary meal in the cafeteria and/or help to defray some of the travel expenses if they know you are coming.
Every attempt should be made to visit a school if they are within a few hours of your home. Schools expect you take that extra effort to visit their campus.
See The Negatives
This may be the most difficult aspect of the college search, especially if there is an infatuation with the school. When on campus, it is important to recognize the negatives regarding a potential school. Tour guide will always highlight the positive aspects of their campuses, but will they show you the negatives? It is better to recognize the things you may not enjoy about the campus while on a tour, rather than once your student is enrolled.
Make sure to ask thought provoking questions that will elicit an honest response. Most people will speak freely about the school, campus and students. Admission's representatives understand that not everyone is the proper fit for their campus. The tour guide is a great source of knowledge. They can discuss why they choose that particular college, the type of students on campus, programs, extracurricular activities and even the things they would like to change about the school.
Write Down Information
Bring a notebook to write down information regarding your visit. After touring multiple schools, inevitably each campus will blend together. Your notes will help differentiate campuses when it comes time to apply or accept an offer of admission.
Before going on any visit, generate a list of needs/wants in a school. Then compare this list with the information you had written down regarding what you learned. Make a list and keep a log of those aspects at each campus. Do not forget to snap photos on your cell phone or tablet!
Lastly, do not forget to have your student write 'thank you' notes to all the people they met.
Tom Jaworski has toured nearly 150 college campuses. To learn if he has visited your school of interest, or anything else college, contact him.