COLLEGE SAVINGS 101

Savingforcollege.com

Making the most of the college visit
http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/making-the-most-of-the-college-visit-731

Posted: 2015-02-19

by Jessica Velasco

Founder of JLV College Counseling, Guest Contributor.

Facts such as average class size, student activities, and majors are important when considering a college. These facts help students build their initial college list. College brochures and presentations bring some life to a college with beautiful pictures of the campus and personal stories. However, the one thing students cannot get from the facts, pictures, or stories is how they will feel on the campus. The only way to know for sure if the college feels right is to visit.

The majority of colleges offer campus visit opportunities throughout the year. Students should take advantage of these opportunities to “test-drive” a college. College is a huge investment in time and money, so students should make sure they find colleges that match what they are looking for in their college going experience. Below are some tips to make the most of a college visit.

Register with the Admissions Office. Admissions offices can set up almost anything the student wants to do while they visit the campus. Contact the admissions office at least two weeks before the visit to ensure they can schedule everything you want to do on campus.

Spend the night on campus. Spending the night in the residence hall will let you see how it feels to be a member of the campus community. Overnight visits also allow visitors to see what the campus is like after hours when class is not in session. Pay attention to the noise level, after-hour activities, and the living community in general.

Eat in the cafeteria. You are going to eat a lot of cafeteria food if you live on campus. Check out the food and make sure the campus offers everything you need. College food is not all created equal, so have a few taste tests of your own.

Tour the campus. The official campus tour organized by the admissions office is usually led by a current student who will share facts about the college, as well as their own experiences on campus. In addition to the organized tour, do a little exploring of your own if time permits.

Sit in on a class or two. One of the most important aspects of a college education is the academics. Some colleges will offer huge lectures and others will have many small classes centered on classroom discussion.

Check out the campus facilities. Visit the facilities you plan on using as a student such as the library, fitness center, career center, or tutoring center.

Read the student newspaper and look at the bulletin boards. By viewing these items, you get a sense of what is important to the students on campus.

Come prepared with questions. Information sessions and campus tours are usually scripted and might not cover everything a student needs to know. If there is something you want to know and it is not covered by the presentation or tour, ask.

Visit the surrounding community. No matter how much you love the campus, you will want to get away to go shopping, go to a movie or eat something other than cafeteria food. Make sure the surrounding community is safe and has everything you are going to need.

Take photos and notes during the visit. You will see and hear a lot of information when visiting colleges. The colleges will start to blend together after a while. Take photos and notes of your visits so that you can refer back to them as you are narrowing down your college list.

Visit during the academic year. While visiting during the summer can still be beneficial, especially if planned properly, visiting when school is in session will allow you to envision yourself as a member of the campus community.

The campus visit is one of the most important aspects of the college search process. Take your time on campus and pay attention to how you feel. Most students know within a few minutes if a college is for them or not. Pay attention to how you feel because those feelings will probably not change. The campus visit is the only way you will know for sure if the college feels right for you.




Jessica Velasco is an independent college counselor and founder of JLV College Counseling. She started her counseling company after working in higher education for ten years. She now uses her prior experience and knowledge as an admission counselor and director to provide guidance to students and their parents as they go through the college admissions process.






Founder of JLV College Counseling, Guest Contributor.

Facts such as average class size, student activities, and majors are important when considering a college. These facts help students build their initial college list. College brochures and presentations bring some life to a college with beautiful pictures of the campus and personal stories. However, the one thing students cannot get from the facts, pictures, or stories is how they will feel on the campus. The only way to know for sure if the college feels right is to visit.

The majority of colleges offer campus visit opportunities throughout the year. Students should take advantage of these opportunities to “test-drive” a college. College is a huge investment in time and money, so students should make sure they find colleges that match what they are looking for in their college going experience. Below are some tips to make the most of a college visit.

Register with the Admissions Office. Admissions offices can set up almost anything the student wants to do while they visit the campus. Contact the admissions office at least two weeks before the visit to ensure they can schedule everything you want to do on campus.

Spend the night on campus. Spending the night in the residence hall will let you see how it feels to be a member of the campus community. Overnight visits also allow visitors to see what the campus is like after hours when class is not in session. Pay attention to the noise level, after-hour activities, and the living community in general.

Eat in the cafeteria. You are going to eat a lot of cafeteria food if you live on campus. Check out the food and make sure the campus offers everything you need. College food is not all created equal, so have a few taste tests of your own.

Tour the campus. The official campus tour organized by the admissions office is usually led by a current student who will share facts about the college, as well as their own experiences on campus. In addition to the organized tour, do a little exploring of your own if time permits.

Sit in on a class or two. One of the most important aspects of a college education is the academics. Some colleges will offer huge lectures and others will have many small classes centered on classroom discussion.

Check out the campus facilities. Visit the facilities you plan on using as a student such as the library, fitness center, career center, or tutoring center.

Read the student newspaper and look at the bulletin boards. By viewing these items, you get a sense of what is important to the students on campus.

Come prepared with questions. Information sessions and campus tours are usually scripted and might not cover everything a student needs to know. If there is something you want to know and it is not covered by the presentation or tour, ask.

Visit the surrounding community. No matter how much you love the campus, you will want to get away to go shopping, go to a movie or eat something other than cafeteria food. Make sure the surrounding community is safe and has everything you are going to need.

Take photos and notes during the visit. You will see and hear a lot of information when visiting colleges. The colleges will start to blend together after a while. Take photos and notes of your visits so that you can refer back to them as you are narrowing down your college list.

Visit during the academic year. While visiting during the summer can still be beneficial, especially if planned properly, visiting when school is in session will allow you to envision yourself as a member of the campus community.

The campus visit is one of the most important aspects of the college search process. Take your time on campus and pay attention to how you feel. Most students know within a few minutes if a college is for them or not. Pay attention to how you feel because those feelings will probably not change. The campus visit is the only way you will know for sure if the college feels right for you.




Jessica Velasco is an independent college counselor and founder of JLV College Counseling. She started her counseling company after working in higher education for ten years. She now uses her prior experience and knowledge as an admission counselor and director to provide guidance to students and their parents as they go through the college admissions process.






 

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