After doing your extensive research on the colleges you are interested in applying to, the next step in deciding if the college is a good fit is to visit the college. This is an important part in getting more information about each college, so remember to come prepared and bring a notebook.
In some cases, visiting a college campus may not be possible for families, but it is highly recommended to help you learn if a college is the right place for you. Some colleges may have multicultural recruitment programs that may provide financial assistance for a student to visit the campus. Please visit the college’s multicultural recruitment program website and contact the staff for more information. Some community organizations or teachers also provide funding to send students to visit college campuses.
A campus visit is a great opportunity to experience the college firsthand. You can only get so much from a college brochure or website. Be an observer to get a feel for the college, which means you need to visit the library, eat in the cafeteria, visit the dorms, and sit in on a class. Ask yourself questions. Do students study alone or in groups? Are students actively involved in classroom discussion?
Besides getting a firsthand view of the campus, make it a priority to talk to financial aid and admission officers, professors, and most importantly, students. This gives you the opportunity to get answers to any questions you may have, including:
What is the average class size? What is the student-to-faculty ratio? Are majority of the classes taught by professors?
Does social life revolve around the campus or do students leave on the weekend?
Is there plenty of storage space in the dorms?
How is the food in the cafeteria?
Your parents should also participate in the campus visit and information sessions. They can assist you with which colleges to apply to and which college to attend. Take your siblings along for the visit to help expose them to a college campus at an early age and even invite a few friends.
It is important to pick up any official college brochures from admissions and financial aid offices. Another priority is to get business cards in case you have an important question about admission or financial aid you know who to contact.
Read college newspapers to learn more about campus life. Read bulletin boards to see what activities such as concerts are happening on the campus, what employment or internship opportunities are posted, and in general to see what student life is like day-to-day.
Make the campus visit your own. It is important that you, the student, takes lead and makes the most out of your visit. In the end, the decision is up to you. Remember, listen to your gut. Can you see yourself at the college for the next four years? Does it feel like home? How do you feel walking around campus? Do you feel comfortable interacting with students and faculty? Visiting college campuses is an important part of the college search and can help you determine if the college is a good fit.