What to do and what not to do when visiting colleges
Before accepting an admissions offer from a college, a college visit can provide valuable feedback on whether that institution provides the best fit for you as a college student. Rather than banking on a college website, make sure that you visit colleges. The main advantage of doing this is that you are going to get first-hand information and also get a feel of the college which is quite important as you are going to spend plenty of your time there. It is very different to hear opinions, see the website and even read books regarding a college. Everything can seem ideal when reading about it, until you get there. What to do, when to visit, which colleges should I visit? Here are some answers regarding this important topic in college admissions.
“In my opinion, summer is an ideal time to visit colleges. It is not only convenient for students but also for their family members. Further, majority of colleges run courses during the summer months, you can visit classes and talk to enrolled students,” pointed out Hadim Nazar. However, some will refute this statement by saying that you cannot grasp the true college spirit in the summer, when most students are away. Either way, if you have no other better choice, visiting during the summer will ensure that you have more time to devote to the visit, as opposed to rushing so that you can get back home without missing school days.
When visiting colleges, your focus should be on finding important details such as what degree programs are being offered by schools of your choice, what are specific admission criteria that might apply in your case, such as the need to conduct an interview, an audition, provide a portfolio, or others. During your visit, try to talk to admission officers and inquire what types of student characteristics they are looking for in their students. Do not be afraid to ask questions, it is important for you to interview them, as much as they are interviewing you – there needs to be a fit. It is the responsibility of admission officer to guide you through the entire admission process. If you do not satisfy the eligibility criteria, chances are that you are not going to get an admission in the degree program of your choice.
Take your visit seriously!
“One out of four college freshmen do not return sophomore year to the same college they first enrolled in? Some students don’t return after the first semester. There are plenty of reasons for this, but significant one is that they don’t “like” the college that they chose. That is where students must take college visit seriously,” said Richard Jenkins. Often, students and their parents didn’t know enough about the college before making a decision regarding the admission. The college visit will help you assess with a better understanding what your chances are of excelling while immersed in that college’s environment.
How many colleges should you visit?
Even before you make any college visits, make sure that you interact with your parents and high school counselor about the colleges that can give your academic future a boost and why you think they might be tailor made for you. “Do not settle on just one college. This is a mistake commonly made by many students. Even if you have a first choice in mind, your decision is only going to be fruitful when you compare your first choice college with at least three to four other colleges,” pointed out Wridhaman Saha of Progressive Institute. You may not believe at first, but there can be more than one college presenting a great fit for you, and keeping your mind open to different and varied alternatives can be favorable. My suggestion is to choose a portfolio of colleges to visit, just like you are choosing a portfolio of colleges to apply to. Out of your list of colleges to apply to, find at least one that is larger, one mid-size and a smaller school. Take a look at the three and assess in which environment you would feel more comfortable. Look for a school located in a rural area, and one in a city. Are collegiate sports important for you? Do you want to be in a city? If so, what are the advantages and disadvantages of going to a college located, for example, in New York City. These are questions you need to ask to yourself not only to choose schools but once you visit, to the admissions staff. You can be happy at number of colleges — if you chose them carefully. In short, make sure that you don’t limit yourself to a single choice. If it falls through, you’ll be scrambling.
Role of Admissions office:
College visits are normally done through an Admissions Office. As a student, you need to call or e-mail Admissions Office and get the name of the admissions counselor you talk to, as well as schedule a tour. Going forward, you are going to deal directly with the admissions counselor. Parents should ask if they will get printed details before the visit. Let the counselor know well in advance that you are interested in visiting. The admissions officers are there to market the school and find students that will have a great fit. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, while being formal as a job interview and making sure to have done your homework. Show your interest while being thorough on the things that are important to you. In this way, both the admissions officer and you will ensure making the right decision on fit, helping you become successful in the admissions process and in your future at the school of your choice.