March 2009 Newsletter
College websites and brochures can have idyllic scenes and can tell you almost everything you might want to know about a particular college, but only a campus visit can help you decide if a particular college is the appropriate place for you. You are about to make a major commitment and in doing so you need to visit colleges, see their facilities, the surrounding neighborhoods, and of course, the students. Another very important reason to visit campuses is that many colleges rate you on the seriousness of your application, and a college visit can give you the most points in demonstrating your interest. The best time to visit colleges is when classes are in session, and the winter or spring of junior year is prime time.
Planning The Campus Visit
- Make sure that you have read through the college’s website and any literature from the school that you have received.
- Talk to alumni who live in your area. Your guidance counselor may be able to give you names of alumni in your area or recent graduates who might be currently attending the college.
- Call the college and confirm that classes are in session the day of your visit.
- Find out the dates and times when campus tours and information sessions are offered. Most colleges give tours and information sessions at least once a day, and some schools offer them several times a day.
- Inquire as to how you can sit in on a class or two. You select the courses; just find out when and where the classes meet.
- If you know your intended major, or if you have an interest in a particular department, call the department and schedule a meeting.
- If the college is a considerable distance from home, and you don’t think that you’ll have time for a second visit later on in the application process, you might want to inquire about an interview. You can schedule an interview at any time during the application process, even before you submit an application. Before arranging one, however, read about the college’s policy on interviews.
- If you’re a talented athlete, visual or performing artist, or math / science researcher, call the coach, director, or mentor, and arrange a meeting.
- Some colleges offer prospective students overnight stays in the dorm. Call the admissions office and find out if this is an option.
- Allow adequate time for your visit.
At The College For A Visit
- Attend the tour, the information session, and sit in on a class or two.
- Bring a camera and take notes. Take pictures, and be prepared to jot down anything you might later consider significant. Many colleges ask you to write a Why-I-Want-to-Attend______College-Essay, and your pictures and notes could help you later on in the application process.
- Ask questions! The tour guide can most likely answer any questions you may have, or at least let you know where you can find the answers.
- Many colleges include a dorm room visit on the tour. This room is often a model; no one lives there, and it is only use is to impress visitors. Walk down the corridor and peak into an open room, or knock on a door and ask a student if you can look inside.
- Pick up a campus newspaper. You would be amazed at all the information you can find out about the college.
- Ask more questions! Walk up to students and ask questions about the academics, their professors, the social life, the general campus atmosphere (relaxed, congenial, helpful, competitive), the surrounding neighborhood, what happens on week-ends, when they study, where they study, how to get involved in campus activities, what are some of the other colleges to which they applied, why they decided to attend this school, and anything that they would like to change.
- If you know your intended major, visit the department and ask for a tour of the facilities.
- Go into town and walk around. Stop in a shop or a restaurant and talk to the help. It’s likely that some of the people who work there are students at the college.
- Pick up a course catalogue which is either available in the admissions office or at the bookstore. It will tell you about the course offerings and the faculty in every department.
- After the tour, have a meal at one of the campus’ dining halls and talk with students.
Contact Bev Taylor to get more information on what The Ivy Coach can do to help you to have a successful campus visit.