Now that most student’s and families are reacquainted with school routines adding just one more piece to the puzzle is about to happen; the college visit! I recall visiting with my mom very few campuses. My criteria included the idyllic cozy New England campus, and “Will I like it?” Yes, that was my data. I don’t even think I went to 5 colleges, where today I have client’s who visit at least 10, 15 and sometimes more.
Today one must examine much more than “Will I like it?”, and “Is it cozy?” In order to assess if the college is a right fit one must truly examine his/her strengths. For example, if 5 hours of homework per night is not what you are currently doing, or think you could do than perhaps Pre-Med is not the right path for you. If you consider yourself to be a homebody (nothing wrong with this), than even 3 hours away might be a challenge. If you end up at a campus where more than 3/4 of the student’s leave on the weekends, how will you feel if you cannot get out, and trust me you will want to. Below are some tips and strategies for making the most of your college visit. If you are a current high school junior starting now is a must.
Do your research prior to scheduling the visit. Be sure it has your major, sport, club, and it fits everything you think it should.
I love the open houses where administrators and admissions wine and dine parents, students and extended family, however, a smaller intimate tour, and interview can make even more of an impact (without the wining and dining).
Don’t be afraid to talk with current student’s, professors, or others you meet while on campus. They are often eager to share their story.s
Pick up a student newspaper to examine the culture, trends, and happenings on and off campus.
Visit the career center (the most overlooked stop on tours). What services due they provide for future jobs? Are their recruitment opportunities? What is the job placement rate within 6 months, not just offers?
Check out the library.
What are some of the campus traditions?
Eat in the dining hall (if you have time).
Spend the night (typically this is allowed once you have submitted your application).
Drive around the area to examine restaurants, shopping, museums, and get the flavor of the community.
If you interview don’t forget to send a thank you immediately (hand written is preferred). I often encourage clients to travel with thank you notes, and stamps. This way when finished with interview write your note, stamp it and drop it in a mailbox. This is surely a way to set yourself apart.
Bring a journal or notebook to document your experience and how you feel. Trust me-if you visit 2-3 schools in a day they will start to blur.
When you’ve finished your tour process whether this school should remain on your list, or not. Talk with me, your parents, counselors, coaches or anyone who will be assisting you in this arduous process. Remember you are not alone!