If you’re a rising high school senior (or even a junior who wants to get a head start on college planning), then you might consider scheduling some campus tours early this Fall semester. The best time to visit a campus is when classes are in session, and students are present. Plus, if you visit soon, your tours might help you make the final choice between your top two or three schools. You will probably need to confirm your plans to attend later this fall, or early in the Spring at the latest.
So with that being said, what do you actually do on a college visit?
Call the school ahead of time. Sure, you can simply show up and walk around a college campus. But if you notify the school ahead of time, they can make some recommendations and even accommodate you with tours, appointments, and more.
Inquire about staying overnight. Some colleges offer the option for you to stay overnight in a dorm, to get a real taste of campus life. If you can, take advantage of this opportunity! You can check out the dorms and begin to imagine yourself living there.
Visit your intended major department. If you have an idea of your future major, ask to tour that department and speak to an advisor.
Sit in on a class. Ask to attend a class, particularly one in your chosen field. If you aren’t sure of a major at this point, choose a class that is a common core requirement for freshmen.
Check out a sporting event. Attending an event will give you a taste of school spirit, and help you picture yourself living on this campus.
Talk to students. Most current students will be happy to tell you about their school, and offer some freshman year survival tips. Go prepared with questions, and take a notepad to jot down inside information.
Eat in the dining hall. If you choose this school, and particularly if you live in the dorm, you will be eating here quite often. So you might as well check it out; it’s more important than you might think!
Read the student newspaper. You will get a feel for the environment, learn about campus events, and learn about issues that concern the current student body.
Check out some bulletin boards. You’ll discover events, clubs, and all sorts of obscure information by reading the posted fliers.
Check out your resources. Familiarize yourself with the school’s textbook center, but keep in mind nearby off-campus stores might also offer used textbooks. Get a feel for the town immediately surrounding the college, because this will be your home for the next four years.