Tips for Successful College Visits
07/23/2013 Published by: Suzanne
Still deciding which college to attend after graduating from high school? Visiting college campuses can help you zero in on what you’re looking for in a school as well as help you narrow down your choices . . . and summer vacation is a great time to get started!
What to consider before your visit:
The folks over at CollegeBoard.org have compiled a list of some aspects to consider when looking at and deciding between colleges:
- Distance from home
- Majors and Degrees available
- Housing options available
- Student body makeup
- Extracurricular activities available
- Campus atmosphere
- Financial aid available
- Private v. Public
- Admissions requirements
- Acceptance of transfer of credits (such as Advanced Placement credits from high school and/or credits from another college/university)
Types of visits to consider:
- Campus organized events for prospective students where information sessions, tours, etc. are pre-planned by the school.
- Individually planned visits where a student/family contacts a school (usually the Admissions Office) and arranges their own personal visit.
Planning your visit:
- In order to get a sense for the differences between schools, plan on visiting colleges that vary in the aspects listed above so you can get a feel for which you prefer.
- If you already have a strong sense for what you want to study as an undergraduate, you’ll be a step ahead in narrowing your field of choices as you’ll want to find the schools with a strong program in that area . . . those would be the campuses you should try to visit! *Last week’s blog entry, “College Navigator . . . Learn more about it in our SQ Library!” includes college search links which can help you find schools that offer the program(s )you’re interested in.
- Another aspect that could strongly influence the choice you make is the cost! Knowing you’ll receive a large scholarship from one school v. another does a lot to make it stand out. Remember that private institutions are often able to offer more financial aid resulting in a final cost that is similar to that of a public school. Visit the websites of the schools you’d like to visit to see what kinds of scholarships you may automatically qualify for based upon your GPA and SAT/ACT score. *In addition, don’t forget to utilize our new Scholarship Finder which can be found in the SchoolQuest™ College Planners section on our home page.
During your visit:
- Prepare a list of questions to ask while visiting each school so that you can compare their answers later. To help you get started, here’s a link to the U.S. News & World Report’s “List of 36 Questions to Ask on a College Visit”.
- College Board also has a great “Campus Visit Checklist” to consider.
- Keep a list or create a spreadsheet of each school as they relate to the aspects listed above so you can compare them at a later date.
After your visit:
- Once you’ve visited some campuses, you’ll probably gain a sense for which aspects you feel strongest about. For example, you may decide that a smaller campus is more important to you than how close it is to home . . . or . . . you may feel the need to be at a campus located in or very close to a major city v. one in a more rural setting.
- Remember . . . keep an open mind! What appealed to you before your visits could very well change once you’ve completed them . . . which is why they are so important to arrange!
- For more tips on making the most of college visits, read the College Board’s “6 Steps to Get the Most Out of a College Visit”.
Good luck and safe travels!
**Help us get the word out about SchoolQuest.org™ by liking us on Facebook! SchoolQuest.org™ is an initiative of the Military Child Education Coalition® (MCEC®). Follow us on the MCEC® Twitter feed . . . for the sake of the child!
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