Summertime is the best time to start working on that college visit bucket list. Students are looking for things to do and travel seems to be the inevitable solution to new adventures. Why not grab the beach towel, notepad, sunglasses and some comfortable walking shoes and visit a few college campuses.
But, before you step out of the house, be sure to walk your way through our college visit bucket list to maximize your visits and have the best summer exploring some amazing college campuses.
- Visit the college website!
- Locate the Visit the Campus section of the college website, usually located under Admissions. Many allow you to schedule your visit right on their website!
- If there are no options on their website to register your visit, give the admissions office a call and make an appointment directly.
- Either way, make sure they know you’re coming!
- Listen to their admissions presentation. They have worked hard on assembling the perfect amount of information to help you. Plus, it’s not a time-share presentation so try not to treat it like one.
- Meet the admissions representative that travels to your area. Be sure to grab their business card too!
- Do you know what major you may want to study? While you are scheduling your visit, see if there might be a professor from that department on hand to speak with you during your visit.
- Take a campus tour! I know, this one sounds silly obvious. You’d be surprised how many visit campuses without an actual tour. When you schedule your tour, if you can arrange to have this given by a current student that is best. But, during the summer it will most likely be conducted by someone in admissions — still not a bad option.
- Enjoy the moment out-and-about the campus. With or without students present, try to imagine yourself on these sidewalks, sitting in the classrooms, eating in the dining hall, or staying in the residence hall. Try to imagine yourself there as a student.
- Show up! Be engaged! One of the most important things you can do is be a student of the college visit. Stay alert and ask questions. There are two kinds of students who visit colleges: those who genuinely want to know about the college and those who don’t want to be there at all. Admissions can spot them both! Which one will you be?
- Take pictures! Be sure to document your visit for your own sake. Take it from experience, work hard to have the first picture of your campus visit be one of the name of the college. That way, when you go back to your camera roll, you’ll know which campus the state-of-the-art engineering lab that you took pictures of belongs to.
- Take notes! Moms and dads, it is extremely tempting to be the designated “note-taker” for your campus visit. But, truth-be-told, there is nothing better than having your student document their own college visit. After all, the college visit is ultimately for their future education. Make sure you bring along a notepad with your favorite pen.
- Visit a room in a residence hall. Watch out here!! Colleges always like to put their best-foot-forward and “show-off” their shiniest and newest stuff. Be sure to visit a residence hall where freshman would stay. Upperclassmen residence halls are good to see too because if this is where you enroll, it’s nice to see where you’ll eventually have the opportunity to stay. Also, it’s important to point out here, this is an area at some colleges where you can impact the overall Cost of Attendance. Some colleges give options and with those options come different price-points.
- Come prepared for inclement weather! There is nothing worse than being on a campus tour when the bottom drops out of the sky! Be prepared!
- Wear comfortable shoes! You’ll likely catch your Fitbit on fire with the number of steps you’ll likely take on each visit. Fuel up before the tour and stay hydrated!
- MOMS ONLY: Be sure to carry that light sweater! Many colleges like to keep it nice and cold (notice I didn’t say cool) inside their buildings — especially those in the southern states where humidity is high. And, you’ll be walking in and out of many buildings!
- Stay off your cell phone! There is nothing more distracting to your visit, both for you and the campus host, than to have your phone ringing or dinging during critical moments of information sharing. Place your phone on silence and tuck it away for the time-being. Moms and dads, if you must take a phone call, excuse yourself and catch up with the family/group once your call is complete. You don’t want to be that family!
- Ask the right questions! Get a list of questions to ask Admissions, ask Students, and ask Yourself here!
- Complete a “Self-Survey” for every campus visit (link in #18)! This will help you keep them all straight. Be sure to complete the survey as soon after your visit as makes sense for you, but before your next campus visit. You’ll find it is similar to finding the right house with your realtor. After the 4th house, they all start to blend together. Keep your campus visits organized.
- Visit variety! Don’t be afraid to visit a variety of colleges and universities. The college visit years are meant to help determine what you like as a student. Use the campus visits more to narrow down what you like and don’t like about a college. This will help locate colleges that fit you best!
- Send a Thank You card to those you spent time with! Be sure to get their names and their role at the college. This means a ton to those who took their time to share with you.
If you’d like some help with preparing for upcoming college visits or navigating the college admissions process for your student, feel free to read about our services here, or to get in touch here.