Most colleges offer different opportunities for perspective students to explore their campus.
~An OPEN HOUSE provides students & parents with generalized information typically presented to a group of individuals. Topics covered: admission process, housing, financial aid, and more. A tour of the campus is also included.
~A PERSONAL MEETING provides students & parents with more specific information generated by interacting directly with an admissions counselor. Students may be able to meet with professors in their major. A tour of the campus is also included.
~If traveling to your campus is a hardship most campus' have virtual tours on their website that will allow you to at least gather some information about the look of the campus.....but this will not give you the "feel" of the campus which is a key component to making your final decision.
THE CAMPUS VISIT
One of the most important parts of your college research is the campus visit. Visiting the colleges on your list will give you a firsthand impression of the students, faculty, staff, facilities, and programs. On a visit you can learn what the admission office is looking for in its applicants, gain a feeling for the academic and social atmosphere, see the study/living/recreation facilities, talk with students, and get a sense of the surrounding community.
WHEN TO VISIT
~Admission offices are open all year, but visiting when classes are in session is best. If you visit in the summer, you can certainly learn about admission and get a general tour of the campus, but it might be hard to get a good sense of the atmosphere of the college.
~The best time to visit? Spring Break of your junior year can be ideal. Even if you are not certain where you might eventually apply, if you can visit one large, one medium size, and one small school, you will be better prepared to make final decisions about where to apply.
~Once you have narrowed your list in the fall of the senior year, you may want to make return overnight visits to schools to which you will be applying. On these visits, plan to go to classes and interact with students on campus.
~If at all possible, try to visit colleges before you apply. You may discover the school is not at all what you had thought it would be based on the online research you had done. However, attending accepted students visit programs at the colleges you have visited previously can help you narrow down your choices.
~SPECIAL VISITATION DAYS: Some colleges will offer spring programs for juniors and fall programs for seniors. Check online or contact the admission office since you may need to make a reservation.
HOW TO PLAN A VISIT
~A good campus visit takes two-four hours, including time to get a sense of the surrounding town or area. Don’t try to visit more than two schools in one day.
~Figure out an itinerary: where you want to travel, how you will travel, how far one school is from another.
~Call the admission office at least two weeks ahead of time to schedule your visit. Admission offices have set times for tours and information.
~Think of all the things you want to do when you visit and ask what the admission office can help you with: talking with an admission officer, taking a tour, attending a class, meeting with a professor in an area that interests you, eating a meal on campus, talking with a coach or advisor of an extracurricular activity that interests you, etc.
~Research each college before you go visit so you’ll have specific questions to ask.
~Contact students you might know at the school before you plan to visit.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU VISIT
~Focus on people, place and programs in your visit.
~Talk to as many people as you can: students, dining hall workers, tour guides, faculty, etc.
~Look at a campus newspaper and check out campus bulletin boards.
~Wander through snack bars and student centers and observe how students interact with each other.
Virtual Campus Tours
Links Related to College Visitation
CollegeWeek Live - World's Largest Online College Fair