You are about to make a huge decision: where to spend the next four years of your life! Probably for the first time ever you have a huge role to play in planning your future.
The process of applying to colleges, trying to convince them to take you on, is a stressful one, but for now, relax! At this stage, as you tour colleges, you are the prize.
Don’t make the admissions councilors’ (ACs’) and tour guides’ jobs too easy. Your ACs and tour guides are paid to make their college look good; trust me, I am a tour guide for my college, and I have been trained thoroughly. So, don’t be a passive visitor, ask hard questions and investigate for yourself.
When you set up your visit make sure to include the areas of campus you want to see and the people you want to talk to. Also, a great way to find out if you would like the college is to stay overnight in a dorm building.
Setting up a visit:
- Let the visit staff know you want to see the art facility or a lab room or gym.
- Ask to meet with the advisor or a professor of the major you are considering.
- Ask to meet with the coach of the sport or the instructor of the instrument you want to play.
- Ask to stay overnight.
In order to be an active visitor, you need to do some prep work. Know what you are looking for in academics and in a community before you start your visit. Below are some questions you may want to ask during your visit.
Questions to ask about academics:
- What is the professor/student ratio?
- What kind of core courses are required?
- What grade point average is necessary in order to play a sport?
- What kind of tutoring is available?
- Are there study abroad programs?
Questions about campus community:
- Do most students stay on campus or go home on weekends?
- Is there a Greek community—sororities/fraternities?
- Are there jobs on campus/work-study opportunities?
- What are some examples of campus events?
- What is the guy/girl ratio?
When you are finished with your visit, jot down some notes, so you remember the best and worst things about the college, because after a while they will all run together. Make sure to get the contact info of your AC, so you can ask them follow-up questions, and write thank-you notes if you met with a coach or professor. These individuals can have a significant impact on your acceptance
It is important to be active in your college search and understand that ACs and tour guides aren’t going to show you every angle of the college. If you take the time and make an effort to investigate before you choose your college, you are more likely to find yourself in an ideal situation.