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  • Writer's pictureJill Teeters

Making College Visits Count

Smith College (photo credit J. Teeters)

Spring is the perfect time for high school juniors to visit college campuses in person. Online research and virtual events are great ways to begin learning about schools, but now is the time to connect with students and admission officers on campus. Colleges are open to outside visitors, but do your homework and plan ahead to research available visit options. Most schools require advanced registration online and will outline any health and safety information.

Get started by heading to the admission section of each school’s website to see visit options (campus tour, information session, interview, open house, etc.). There should be an online calendar with available dates/times from which to choose. Space may be limited, so register early. Once you are booked, here are some important tips to maximize your visits:

The University of Tampa (photo credit J. Teeters)

Early is on-time! Give yourself enough of a buffer to get to campus, find parking, and get to the Admission Office at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment.

Explore BEYOND the tour. Pick up the student newspaper, eat in the cafeteria, walk or drive around the surrounding neighborhood.

Ask the RIGHT questions. Be prepared to ask about things that are important to you (academic profile, majors, sports, clubs, service, Greek life, internships, study abroad, etc.).

Take notes. Capture first impressions, in writing, after each visit - especially when visiting multiple schools in the same trip. A college visit notebook, or notes app in your phone are good tools.

Show thanks. Follow up with a handwritten thank you note, or email, to the admission officer who gave the information session or interview.

Trust your gut. Avoid relying heavily on opinions others may have of the school. What did YOU think? Can you see yourself as part of that student body?

Continue researching. Was there something you really liked, or thought was missing? Reach out to the admission office with questions, and follow their social media channels to stay connected.

Davidson College (photo credit J. Teeters)

Planning and preparation make campus visits an impactful tool to determine which schools are the right fit for you (and there is more than one “right” fit). Explore your options this spring and summer, and let your own research and impressions carry the most weight when finalizing your application list. Don’t rely on rankings and perceived “prestige” to guide you. Get on campus, make connections, and trust yourself to find communities where you will thrive.

Not working with us yet? Feeling stressed by the college search process? Let's chat.

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