The importance of student visits to their prospective colleges cannot be over emphasized. The junior year is an excellent time to make college visits.
How to Make a Visit
Contact the admissions office several weeks ahead of time. They will often refer you to a person or department that deals with visits. You could also go to the campus website for campus visit information. Most colleges have “preview days” or “open houses.” Attending these can give you a good overall view of what the college has to offer. However, to get more detailed information, it is best to schedule an appointment through the admissions or outreach office.
Making the Most of Your Visit
- Research the college. It is always useful to know some specifics about the school ahead of time. It can help focus on what you want to learn about the college and can facilitate good questions.
- Bring an official transcript with you.
- Find out the average GPA and SAT/ACT test scores for entering freshmen.
- Ask if they have an Honors program and the criteria used to place students in that program. Students in Honors programs often have priority registration and housing. Their class sizes are sometimes much smaller and are taught by their top professors.
- Try to meet with a member of the department your student is interested in majoring in. This can often be a key factor when trying to decide between colleges that you are very interested in.
- Visit the library.
- Visit a dorm. Try to have lunch there. Try to stay there if visiting over night. This will give you a good idea of the general living environment.
- Visit the Student Union. Talk to students regarding their experiences regarding class registration, quality of instruction, school safety, social activities, etc.
- Check out extracurricular activities or sports that match your interests.
- Visit the Career or Job Placement Center. Find out information regarding companies that recruit there and general information about job placement after graduation.
- Visit the Financial Aid Office. Find out information about scholarships and the percentage of students receiving financial aid.
- Write a thank you note to the person that gave you or organized your visit and to the member of the department you conversed with.