College Visit FAQ

College Visit FAQ 

College visits are an important part of the college admissions process. It’s your chance to see what the university is really like, apart from the pretty pictures you’ve seen on the website. This visit can also be intimidating though… I vividly remember wandering around the campus anxious, wide-eyed, and feeling like a very small fish in a big pond. To help clear up any confusion and ease your nerves, we’ve compiled this college visit FAQ!

 

Is it really that important to visit potential colleges?

Yes! It is so important to see, in person, the place where you might be spending the next four years of your life. You can read about the campus and town for hours, but there is no comparison for seeing it in person. Call me cheesy, but I knew the moment I stepped on my college’s campus that I needed to go there ­– it was love at first sight. Don’t underestimate how important a college visit really is!

If you’re thinking about attending college across the country and simply do not have the time or the funds to visit before applications (or a decision!) is due, you’re not out of luck. While we still recommend visiting in person, we get that it just might not be possible for everyone. Check out this resource  to learn about taking college tours from the comfort of your own home.

 

How do I set up a college visit?

Check out the university’s admission pages to find out what they offer in terms of tours and info sessions. You can register for a tour, admissions presentations, and so on. Each college’s website should have everything you need to know!

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College Visit FAQ

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When should I go on a college visit?

A great time to go on college tours is during your spring break junior year. This way, you won’t miss any school and you still have plenty of time to mull over your options!

If you can’t go over spring break, there are a few things to keep in mind when you plan your visit. Check out the school’s academic calendar. Mark off any dates where A) school is not in session or B) there are final exams. You want to visit the school when students are there and attending classes, so don’t visit over college breaks. It’s also much better to see what an average day looks like, versus a stressful day of exams, where students are likely cramming and tense!

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college visit FAQ

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Who should I go on a college visit with?

You should visit the college with your parents or guardians. You can certainly go with a friend to visit a college you’re both interested in, but it is so helpful to take a parent if possible. Here’s why:

You’ve never gone to college before, and you’ve likely never lived on your own. There are things that will occur to your parents to ask that you probably wouldn’t think of on your own. For example, how safe is the campus at night? What does public transportation look like, or will you need a vehicle? What kind of financial aid is offered? I know that I personally was much more interested in learning about Greek life and the social scene at my university – and yes, that stuff is great… but there is much more to think about!

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Should I talk to current students?

Heck yes! The tour guide will likely be a current student, but their job is to make the school look amazing. By talking to a current, non-tour guide student, you can get the lowdown on what that school is really like.

If you have any friends, ask them if you can stay in their dorm one night to see what it’s like. Eat with them in the dining hall, study with them in the library, and tag along to a class! If you don’t have any friends at that school, check out if any students who graduated from your high school are attending the university. Connect with them – social media is an easy way to do this! They’ll likely be more than happy to show you around their school and answer questions you might have.

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What if I don’t know any current students?

If you don’t have a single connection to any current students, you’ll need to put yourself out there a bit more. After the guided tour is over, go make some friends! Grab lunch at the dining hall and strike up a conversation with a friendly-looking student, or group of students. Explain that you’re a prospective student and ask them the questions you have! Most students are excited to talk about their university, and eager to help out. After all, they were in your shoes not too long ago!

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college visit FAQ

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Where should I go on campus?

The guided tour will take you to a lot of important places, like the dining hall, dorms, libraries, and so on. After you’ve finished the tour, feel free to do a bit of exploring yourself. If you know what you want to major in, go check out that department! If you’re lucky, you can sneak into a class (just ask the professor before class starts!).

I recommend checking out any place that you think you’d spend a lot of time. For example if you’re an avid gym-goer, check out their on-campus rec center and athletic facilities. Explore the places that are important to you.

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How should I keep track of what I’ve learned?

If you’re going on several college visits, it’s really hard to keep track of everything. TAKE NOTES! Write down the important things you learn from your tour guide, and take an hour or so to write down how you felt about the college visit immediately afterwards. Take lots of pictures on your tour so you can look back at those later.

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Hopefully we've answered your most pressing questions about college visits. Are you curious about anything else? Leave a comment, and we'll make sure to answer!

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