Visiting a college that you are interested in attending is a good idea to help confirm if a college is right for you. Did you know that you can visit a college during any grade while you’re in high school? Typically, students go on college visits in their junior and senior years of high school. Many families schedule college visits around their vacations. Sometimes, you can even get excused absences from school to go visit a campus. If you live within an hour of a college, talk with your school counselor about visiting with a group of students.
By visiting a campus, you’ll be able to get a feel of what the atmosphere is like. By that, I mean that you can get a sense of the school spirit, how friendly the students are, and the safety and security features on the campus. Some common things you can look into while you’re on campus are:
- How active is the campus? - Are students sitting around talking? Are they playing games?
- Do they have tasty food? - Is a meal included with your tour? If not, can you purchase one?
- What are the class sizes like? - Do you want smaller, personal classes? Do you want larger, lecture classes?
- What are the dorms like? - Are they spacious? Do you have to share bathrooms?
Setting up a campus tour is easy and there are a couple ways to do it. You can always give a college’s admission office a call and ask to set up an appointment over the phone. You can also go online to the admissions website and select the day/time that works for your schedule. Usually tours are held on weekdays, but sometimes Saturday visits are included.
Typically a campus visit will include two parts: an admissions information session and a walking tour. Sometimes a housing tour is included with the walking tour, but other times it isn’t. If you plan to live on-campus I would recommend scheduling a housing tour as well.
What do you dress like?
You want to dress professionally, but comfortably. Generally, slacks and a polo or button down would be terrific for young men, and slacks or an appropriate length skirt and blouse would be terrific for young women. I would recommend a nice pair of sneakers because you will likely be walking all over the campus during the tour.
How should you act?
You want to act professionally as well. You should sit still and pay attention during the admissions briefing. Taking notes is a good way to help you keep focused and remember the information later once you’re back home. Remember, while you are evaluating the college to see if it is right for you, the admissions officers and tour guides are also evaluating you.
What should you ask?
- Ask about the programs and majors you’re interested in.
- Ask about any clubs or sports you want to participate in.
- Ask about anything you DON’T see or that isn’t mentioned.
- What about safety features?
- What about inclusivity and diversity?
When you ask good questions it shows you’re engaged and want to know the information. Your CAA coaches are ready to discuss your colleges and hear about your visits.