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Once you’re a college student, the next four years of your academic, extra-curricular, and social life will be centered on one campus. How do you know if a school is right for you?

A college visit is a great way to get a feel for a campus environment, especially those aspects outside the classroom: Will I like the people in my dorm? Does anyone go to football games? Which dining hall serves the best pizza?

Since many schools continue to offer virtual campus tours, we want to provide you with some guidance for an online journey, so you can get the most out of college visits while campuses adjust to the end of the pandemic.

Follow these 3 easy tips and tools!

  1. Do your research. Before your visit, dive deep into the college website and use our College Research Tool as a guide. The more you know about a college, the more informed questions you will ask during your visit.
  2. Check out student YouTube Videos: Students love to give insider looks into their colleges. You can find tours of dorm rooms, comments on Greek life, and so much more.
  3. Ask questions on the formal tour: Don’t be shy about typing questions into the Q&A chat. Here are some things you might want to ask:
    • What are the most popular and most attended clubs and events on campus? This will give you an idea of how students like to spend their time and whether you’ll fit in.
    • How accessible are the closest cities or towns?
    • How much time do students get to spend with professors? Are most of the classes large lectures or in smaller groups?

Bonus Tip for In-Person College Visits in the Future!

Go off-tour looking for clues: It’s important to pay attention to the intangibles — and you may have to look beyond the official tour to discover these gems!

  • To get a feel for the workload, walk through the main library to see how many students are studying, noting the time of day. Find out the library hours. If the main library is only open late before exams, that may mean that students on campus don’t need a lot of study time and may not have to work that hard. On the other hand, a library that is open late every night and 24-hours a day right before exams may mean that students at that school are studying all the time!
  • Inquire if you can sit in on a class. Not only will you be able to observe the professor’s teaching style, but you will also be able to see how seriously students are taking their work — are they paying attention, texting…or sleeping (!).
  • When you pass students walking around campus, are they smiling and happy? Or are their heads down, looking angry, troubled or depressed?

Only you will know how a school “feels” and what matters most. Pay attention to what’s important to you, and you’ll be sure to make the right decision!

Need some help to stay on track with your college research? Schedule a free one-hour consultation through the link below.

About the Author: Amy Morgenstern

Dr. Amy Morgenstern, affectionately known as Dr. M, is the founder and CEO of Blue Stars Admissions Consulting. She holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and an MFA in contemporary art. A former professor of philosophy, honors program associate director, and assistant to the director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, Dr. M brings a wealth of academic and multicultural experience to her practice.

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