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7 Things You Can Do to Get the Most Out of Your College Visits
November 30, 2020

7 Things You Can Do to Get the Most Out of Your College Visits

Choosing the right college is a big decision. You need to spend a considerable amount of time deciding what you want to study, comparing tuition costs and looking into graduate outcomes. But diligent research can only get you so far.

At a certain point, you’ll need to go on a number of college visits to determine which school is the right fit. Make the most of those trips by taking these pointers to heart.

Maximize your experience during college visits by …

1. Dressing in comfortable clothing

One thing nearly every college visit has in common is that students and their families do a lot of walking. Dress for it by wearing clothes that you can comfortably get around in like jeans, a nice shirt and shoes that won’t make your feet ache by the end of the day. If you’ll be attending a formal admissions interview, you’ll need something slightly more polished. Aim for business casual. You can always bring a change of clothes to accommodate different parts of the day.

2. Scheduling an official campus tour

You and your family can certainly venture out without a guide, but it’s a good idea to go on an official tour during your college visits as well. They typically cover all the basics like dorms, dining options, academic buildings and fascinating campus highlights. Making your presence known is also wise, given that research indicates students who demonstrate their interest are more likely to be admitted to some schools. Just keep in mind that you often need to schedule tours in advance.

3. Taking detailed notes

Even if you have a great memory, details from different visits may start to run together over time. You’ll thank yourself later if you take notes during each of your campus visits. Jot down what you do and don’t like about each school. It’s also a good idea to take photos to help jog your memory.  

4. Visiting academic departments you’re interested in

Don’t worry if you have yet to choose a major — you have plenty of time to decide what you want to study. But if you already know what type of degree you want to pursue, it’s worthwhile to speak with the faculty and staff at the corresponding academic department. This is a great way to learn more about relevant programs.

5. Asking questions

While it’s tempting to think you can always follow up with emails later, you’re better off asking questions during your visit when you know you’ll receive an answer. It’s a good idea to chat with your tour guide, admissions representatives, faculty members and other school staff.

Because paying for your education is probably top of mind, you’ll want to stop by the financial aid office. Make sure to ask whatever questions you have about scholarships, grants and student loans. Schools keep track of information like the total amount of institutional aid they award and what percentage of students receive assistance. They can provide you with additional resources as well.  

6. Going when classes are in session

You’ll get more out of your college visits if you go during the academic year rather than over the summer. Mondays through Thursdays are usually the best days to visit — campus may start to wind down on Friday afternoons. You’ll get a better sense of what it’s like to be a student on campus if you’re surrounded by potential classmates.

7. Speaking to students

One of the biggest advantages of visiting colleges during the academic school year is that you can speak to students. Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask:

  • Why did you choose this school?
  • How did you pick your major?
  • Which classes have you most enjoyed and why?
  • What are your favorite things to do when you’re not studying?
  • How is the food?
  • What do you think of the dorms?

If your schedule won’t allow you to attend all of your college visits when classes are in session, you should still try to chat with some students. Admissions offices are usually more than happy to facilitate these connections — you simply need to ask.

Find your perfect fit

It can be a bit overwhelming to start planning your college visits at first. But, hopefully, these pointers have you feeling prepared to make the most of every trip. Then you can start to think more critically about which schools would be the best fit. Each college has a different outlook, and some will resonate with you more than others.  

Perhaps you recognize that you want to gain practical work experience while pursuing your degree. Schools like Berry College encourage students to prioritize professional development in this way. Find out why by reading our article “Working in College: How Balancing Employment and Education Can Benefit Students.”

If you’re interested in exploring the Berry College campus, great, we can accommodate you by appointment. In the meantime feel free to take a look at our virtual tour.

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