It’s without question that one of the most exciting parts of applying to college is touring different campuses and experiencing the campus community first-hand. After all, anything can look good on paper these days, it’s the experience you receive that is the real differentiator when you’re considering multiple options for college. There are a number of different ways you can approach the college search, but touring different campuses and speaking with representatives is at the top. Here’s what you need when determining where to visit, when and how to navigate the overwhelming number of options:
Making the Most of Your College Campus Tours
College tours are a great way to get a glimpse of what the college you’re visiting has to offer; but without a plan in place it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by where, when and how you’re going to get to each tour. Let’s begin with the ‘when’ aspect of touring college campuses.
The Best Time to Visit
Of course visiting when you can does have some weight on scheduling out college visits on the family calendar; but you’ll also want to be sure the college is welcoming students and their families at that time. In order to get the most out of your visit, it’s encouraged by admissions to attend as many information sessions as possible so you can discuss any questions, concerns or goals you have for the school you’re visiting. Since these information sessions aren’t hosted 24/7, you’ll want to be certain that you and your parents contact admissions or review the calendar of events for detailed information.
While the weekends may be the best option for your family, visiting during the week is ideal because that’s when you will have a real opportunity to see what the campus community is really like. Experiencing the hustle-and-bustle of the college lifestyle can ultimately be a real deciding factor when it comes time to narrow down your search and confidently enroll in a college program. Another option is to visit during high school holidays, such as Columbus Day and President’s Day, since colleges are typically open and in session on these days – that way, you can the most out of your session without taking away from other engagements and responsibilities.
Effectively Navigate the Overwhelming Number of Options
Let’s face it, visiting every college of interest may not be possible for everyone. For example, if you’re looking at colleges on the other side of the country, you may not have the opportunity to make the trip. Turn to your parents and school counselors for assistance, especially since committing to every campus visit can be overwhelming for not just you, the student, but the entire family.
Another option you and your family may want to consider is a virtual online tour of the school you’re interested in. While this option is not always offered, colleges typically offer an online photo tour or an opportunity to meet with representatives at your high-school, college fair and other area information sessions.
Was it the Best Fit?
Touring college campuses gives you the opportunity to experience the campus community first-hand; so was it the right fit? It’s important to sit down with your parents and/or your school counselor to determine if the college meets your academic needs. It’s also important to determine if the size of the campus and the number of students is a comfortable fit. Take the time to assess the environment and your needs so you can effectively narrow down your search and pick a school that will bring out your best.