Everything You Need To Know About College Visit
Choosing a college can be an overwhelming, difficult process. There are suburban schools and urban schools, smaller campuses and larger campuses, and of course, different vibes wherever you go. No matter how good or bad a school may look on paper, college visits remain the most comprehensive and informative way to decide between what you like and dislike. A picture is, of course, worth a thousand words (or college websites.) But college visits aren’t just for yourself. In addition to providing you with a wealth of influential information, college visits can also serve as an important stamp of interest. If you eventually decide to apply to a school you have previously visited, your visit can serve as a symbol of commitment and continued attention. Essentially, college visits display your interest and may help you further down the line in your application process.
As with everything college related, the same key piece of advice rings true: Start early! Although you can visit colleges all the way through the application process, physical tours often make things seem much more real. In theory, you want to study in a small, suburban, liberal arts college. However, tours can help you discover that small and quiet settings actually send you reeling. Starting the college visiting process early allows time for many trips back to the drawing board, which can be necessary in finding the perfect fit.
And that’s the most important part!
If you’re just starting to plan your first few college visits, it can often be confusing to organize the logistical information. For most schools, it’s necessary to reserve tours online in advance. Some schools, however, encourage an open visitation policy that doesn’t require any prior reservations. Throughout your college visits, you will probably run into both types of schools. This means that you should always check the “Visit Us” tab on every specific college’s website. It’s better to be safe than sorry! If you do indeed need to schedule for a specific date, make sure to double-check your schedule for conflicts. You may also want to check the college’s visit cancellation/rescheduling policies, just in case.
Of course, most college visits require some travel. In some situations, this is difficult and nearly impossible. If you’re a kid living in Utah and your dream school is Boston University, you may never get to experience a real-life campus tour. But never fear. Through the help of the internet, it has become incredibly easy to virtually stroll through thousands upon thousands of institutions of higher learning. Most colleges have YouTube accounts with detailed campus tours, which highlight the key physical aspects every prospective freshman should consider. Through these virtual tours, it’s possible to feel almost as though you have indeed taken that flight to Boston and experienced the campus for yourself. This is an important tool even for those looking at closer destinations, since an online overview can help cut down an often lengthy college list. Features such as online tours have become a staple in the ever-growing arsenal of college resources. As a prospective student, it’s incredibly important to learn to utilize these resources, as they can save lots of time and money.
Going off the topic of money-saving resources, there are also many ways to save some cash once you actually arrive at a prospective college. In many cities, colleges have agreements with local hotels and motels that can save prospective students and their parents a considerable amount on lodging expenses. If staying at a hotel seems difficult for your financial situation, many colleges will offer on-campus living arrangements overnight. In addition, some colleges offer meet-and-greet type lunches, where prospective students can meet seasoned upperclassmen and receive helpful advice about college life. These Q&A sessions can be extremely beneficial because they provide a more realistic, multi-faceted view on the college. Although no college tour guide will explicitly tell you that the athletic program at XYZ University is terrible, a random off-the record student, may eagerly point out the negatives of the football team over lunch. Not only do meet-and-greet lunches offer a firsthand look at your prospective college choice, but you also get free food— obviously an irresistible offer! Resources such as student lunches, discounted lodging, and on-campus stays are readily available as long as you remember to thoroughly scour college websites. If you need something that isn’t readily advertised from a specific college, there’s also no harm in asking. Remember: All colleges want you to fall in love with them during your visit! Therefore, they’ll do as much as they can in order to make your visit as affordable and enjoyable as possible. So keep searching, keep visiting, and good luck!
If you have any questions about college visits, pre-college planning, or the high school struggle, contact Gabby Lysko at firstname.lastname@example.org