Spring is the time for campus visits. Juniors are exploring and seniors are doing final shopping to find the campus that is the perfect “fit” for academics and social growth.
I’d like to share a few tips for how to get the most information during your campus visit. First and foremost, juniors shouldn’t be visiting any campus that hasn’t yet been explored online. There should be a few solid reasons for spending time and money to visit a campus. Please see my previous blog posts on researching college campuses to learn about academic programming, social life, and financial aid.
The most important part of your campus visit is to discover whether the “fit” feels right for you as this will be your home away from home for four years! You can read almost anything on a campus website – but you cannot get the inside information about a given college without a test drive. Seniors, perhaps you have several acceptances, and if you haven’t already visited a campus, attending an “Accepted Student” program is a great way to meet your potential peers- the Class of 2021!
Juniors- Schedule your Admissions Planning Session to discuss your campus visits and next steps.
- One-on-One Department Visits: If you can arrange it- aside from standard campus tours, please reach out to the undergraduate director of your intended major area of study and arrange to meet some current students. Individual departments are generally very welcoming to prospective students.
- Campus Dining Halls: After you’ve been on the tour, time permitting — be adventurous and wander into the dining area and talk with current students- strike up conversations with random people as you’ll be very surprised at what students will tell you both good and bad! Yes, these comments are anecdotal – but you’re looking for trends.
- Weekend Activities? If you are staying through the weekend- I always encourage students of all faiths to attempt to connect with a weekend event at Hillel, Newman, etc. as this is your home-away-from home on “holidays” (Easter, Passover– will you find a place that makes you comfortable?)
- Athletes: If you’re an athlete, contact the coach to see if you can attend or at least observe a practice if the sport is in season.
- Engineer/STEM student– visit specific labs and learn about research taking place — schedule a visit before you arrive on campus.
This sample of questions are those that are not as easy to locate on the college’s website. Ask your tour guide/admissions representative these questions:
“What percentage of graduating seniors have found employment six months after graduation?”
“What percentage of freshman find a summer internship through the career center?”
“Our family isn’t eligible for financial aid. Does your college offer merit based scholarships?”
“What’s the maximum class size and the average class size in my intended major?”
“What percentage of classes are taught by actual full-time faculty as compared to adjuncts and graduate students”
“Is alcohol a ‘problem’ on campus?”
“What support services exist for academic and emotional support if I need it?”
“Is on-campus housing guaranteed for four years?” (This is really important at urban high rental campuses like BU, Chicago, NYU, etc.)