Choosing a college is like choosing your house in a British school of witchcraft and wizardry. It’s a big deal.
And you can do all the online research you want about your top-pick colleges, but there are just some things you can’t tell except by being there: what’s the college environment like? Will you like the other students? Feel comfortable there? Be excited every day to attend classes?
This is why a lot of students choose to visit schools in person. But how do you get the most out of your college visits?
Follow these 3 easy tips and tools to get on your way!
- Do your research. The more you know about a college, the more informed questions you will ask when you’re there.
Use our College Research Tool below as a guide. Take the question list you develop on your virtual tour.
- Ask questions on the virtual tour! Don’t forget to find out:
- 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.
- Is it easy to get to nearby cities or towns? If that’s important to you.
- How much time do students get to spend with professors? Are the classes large lectures or in smaller groups?
- Go off-tour looking for clues. You also need to pay attention to the intangibles — and you may have to go “off tour” to find these out. Ask yourself:
- How many students are in the library in the middle of the day or on the weekends? Walk through. Ask what the main library’s hours are: is it open late only right before exams? (Students may not have to work that hard, then….) Or is it open late every night, and then 24-hours a day right before exams (maybe students at that school have to work a little too hard for your tastes….)
- Can you pick a class to sit in on to see how seriously students are taking their work — are they paying attention, or texting…or sleeping (!)?
- When you pass students walking around campus, are they talking and happy? Or are their heads down, looking angry, troubled or depressed?
Only you will know how a school “feels” and what matters to you. Pay attention to what’s important to you, and you’ll be sure to make the right decision!
Suggested Steps for Success
- Do the research you can ahead of time, using our College Research Tool below as a guide.
- Make a list of what you still don’t know, but is still important to you in making a decision.
- When you visit, use the above checklists to help you.
- Pay attention to the intangibles: do students look happy? How many are in the library studying in the middle of the day?
Need some help to stay on track with your college research?