Friday, July 31, 2015

The Fall Term College Visit

No, it’s not too early to be thinking about visiting colleges juniors, and seniors may have interviews to complete. Many students will get a small break in September, so August is a perfect time to put your plans together and finalize your trip.  With the expectations of your “tough” schedules, it’s important to make the most of this visit and the best way to do that is to start with you.

Students and their families often want to get right into a discussion of the whole admission process, but let’s begin by answering these five questions:

1.       What do you want to be doing freshman year, take a minute to imagine you’re there. Is it football games, frat parties, late night intellectual discussions in the dorm?

2.       Don’t think about a major at this point, but what courses do you really want to be taking?

3.       Are you social or want to curl up with a good book when it gets dark?  Who do you spend time with and what kinds of conversations do you have.  When you walk into the cafeteria at lunch, do you like knowing everyone (and everyone knowing you) or are you more comfortable sticking to yourself?  This is important in trying to differentiate between small and large college experiences.

4.       When you walk into high school in the morning, what classes are you eager to get to?  What would you rather skip if you could? Why is that? Do you enjoy classes where you can participate and contribute or would you rather sit back and absorb the lecture and respond with your ideas on paper in your written assignments?

5.       How long have you pictured yourself going to college?  When you close your eyes, what do you see? Is the campus surrounded by the sounds and hustle of the “big city” or is the setting bucolic and serene? How far away from home are you?

Now that you’ve decided to explore your options, Campus Visiting does take some organization to maximize your experience. 

 “How To” Instructions

·         Make a list of the colleges you think you’d like to explore, then map them. Try using GO SEE CAMPUS and Campus Tours online resources to plan your trip. 

     ·         You can usually see 2-3 colleges in an extended weekend if they are within a 100 mile radius.

·         Distance should not be more than 5-7 hours of your home, or if flying, each other. Plan to start your travel on a Thursday evening, college tours are not available on Sunday.  Book your hotel well in advance, many colleges have Open Houses or Parents’ Weekends and you can find that there isn’t a room to be had. The admission office can help you locate a place to stay.

·          Amtrak and some airlines have discounts for college visitation.

·         Call the Admission office ahead to schedule a student guided tour.  Tours are important since you’ll be able to ask questions of your tour guide while seeing most of the campus. But don’t stop here – venture out!  Talk to students, locals, read the student newspaper, see a dorm, eat in the student cafeteria, do an overnight visit, if you’re a hiker, stop by a local park.

·          If you’re a senior and this college requires an interview, schedule a tour and interview at the same visit.
Do your research-read everything that is public knowledge about the college and take notes-outstanding programs, faculty-student ratio, educational mission, sports teams, study abroad programs, financial aid and merit scholarship support, undergraduate research opportunities -- everything!