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Preparing to Visit Colleges

Once you have narrowed down your college choices to those offering the program you might want, you should visit each campus before making your final choice.  Students can visit before they apply or wait until they get in but it is critical to visit any campus you are strongly considering.  The following suggestions may be helpful in planning your visit.

  • Contact the admissions office by phone or website for tour and lodging information.  In some cases, you may be able to visit classes, spend a day with a student, have an interview or stay overnight in a dorm.  If an information session is offered, be sure to attend.
  •  It is always better to visit a campus during the week when classes are in session rather than on the weekends or during vacation. You want to see the students that you will be going to school with and any size campus can feel dead if it is the weekend. Use our vacations which do not fall at the same time as the colleges'. 
  • Ask to sit in on a class.  This is particularly important at large universities where classes may have several hundred students.
  • Every college campus has its own unique personality – try to discover it and determine whether or not you fit in.
  • Visit and spend time in the library, cafeteria and student center.  Read the notices posted around campus as they tell you what’s going on.
  • Take a camera and a note book if you plan to visit more than a couple of schools. Jot down your impressions the same day as the visit.
  • Many schools have preview days or open houses. Visit their websites to determine if the school(s) you are interested in has a special day set up for prospective students.

Ask lots of questions and ask everyone you meet including the tour guide, the admissions staff, students passing by and the student you sit next to the cafeteria.

 

What is your campus and community like?

  • What kinds of social, cultural and recreational activities are available on campus and in the community?
  • Will I need a car to get around?
  • How many students are enrolled?  From my community/school?
  • What makes your college different from others?
  • Can you describe what makes students successful at your college?

Tell me about your programs.

  • Do you offer the major I am interested in?
  • Is the major I am interested in hard to get into?
  • When do you have to declare a major?
  • Are there internship opportunities on campus or in the community?
  • Can I enroll part time, take courses in the late afternoons, evenings, and weekends or during the summer?
  • Are there Honors Programs for students who enter with high grades?
  • What are the research possibilities in my field of interest?

How much does your school cost and how do I get financial help?

  • What are the costs of tuition, registration, books, housing and parking?
  • What kinds of financial assistance are available?
  • Are there special kinds of assistance for students from certain underrepresented groups?  How do I apply?
  • Is it easy to get a job on campus?  In the community?

What about housing?

  • Do you have campus residence halls?  Enough for all students?
  • Are students required to live on campus?
  • Can I choose my roommate?

Will I be eligible for admission?

  • What are the admission requirements for freshmen?
  • Do you have early decision or early action? 
  • Do you have a special program for underrepresented students?  How can I qualify?
  • Do you give extra credit for honors courses?
  • If I go to a community college first, will my credits transfer?