Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Campus Visit is best way to learn about a college

This is post#2 in a series of 5 that I will roll out over the next week...Enjoy!

The campus visit is one of the most important steps you can take to find out what a college is really like. Just as you would not buy a car without a test drive, you need to test out your possible colleges and see what they have to offer. The visit gives you a chance to get the “feel” of the campus and see what your impressions are about the school. These impressions are important, for I have spoken with many students who have visited a campus only to find they feel very uncomfortable on its campus. This is the value f the campus visit—it gives you a chance for a “dry run” at college.

During a typical campus visit you usually will be able to meet with an admission representative individually or as a group and receive information about admission requirements, procedures, financial aid, residence halls, activities, services and much more. Don’t be shy with the representative. Make sure that all your questions are answered; this may be one of the few times that you have direct access to these answers. Some areas you may wish to address include: the school’s policy on AP credits, what students do in their free time, campus safety and security, when do students hear about financial aid packages, and even if cars can be parked on campus.

After such an interview, usually a campus tour will follow. If this tour is not led by the same admission representative, then it may be led by a student. If this is so, take advantage of this opportunity. I say this because it is these students who are currently living the life of an undergraduate who can tell you what it is truly like to be a student on that specific campus. Also, don’t forget to ask important questions that only students can answer such as, are they getting into the classes that they need? Are their professors available to them? What’s good; what’s bad?

On some campuses there are special programs for visiting a campus. Some campuses have overnight hosting visitations where you will stay overnight with a current student in their residence hall and then go to classes the next day, being picked up that afternoon. These visits usually need to be arranged several weeks (if not longer) in advance. Other campuses will have open houses for specific majors, or for prospective or accepted students.

These days are also valuable as they again give you a great look at the campus, and depending on the focus of the event, a great look at a specific department or career area as well as a more in-depth look at the inner-workings of the university.

There are a few things you must do in preparation for a visit to a college or university. These include:

  • Telephone the admissions office to schedule your visit. Let the person you talk to know what you want to do while on campus. This could include meeting with a department, a professor, taking a tour, meeting with an admission representative or other campus activities.

  • Be ready for the visit. Study up on the college by reading the college viewbook, looking at their academic catalog, or visiting their web site.

  • If you haven’t applied or are getting ready to apply to the school, you may wish to take your completed application with you (if it is during the application period).

  • Enjoy the experience and make the most out of your visit; it is the one way to truly get to know the campus.

    If you have any questions about this or other topics, feel free to contact me at dadofdivas@gmail.com and I will do my best to answer the questions you have.

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