College Visit Dos and Don’ts For Students and Parents
College visits are a critical part of the college search process, and it’s important for students and parents to make the most of their time on campus. Before you head off to prospective colleges, make sure you know what – and what not – to do while you’re there!
The spring is always an important time on a college campus, as it’s the most popular time of year for prospective students to visit! Many colleges offer a number of programs for visiting students, and it’s the best time of year to really get a feel for a college’s campus culture. Many families also choose to visit colleges well into the summer.
Whether you’re going on your first college visit, or your 20th, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared, you’ve done your research, and you’re ready to learn everything you can about that college.
Here are some college visit dos and don’t for students and their parents:
- DO visit campuses during your junior year. Holidays, spring break, and weekends are a great time to plan campus visits. Visiting a college while it’s in session will give you a true sense of what life is like, and you will have the chance to chat with current students.
- DON’T forget to check in with the college and make sure that campus tours and information sessions are available on the days you choose to visit.
- DO research the college beforehand and bring those notes with you, including any questions you may have. This will allow you to focus on elements of the campus that you’re most interested in. Impress the tour guide and admissions officers with your knowledge!
- DON’T visit a college without the basics of the school. Doing basic preliminary research will ensure that you’re not wasting your time visiting a college that you may not even be interested in!
- DO leave time to explore the campus on your own. Have lunch in one of the school’s dining halls and talk to current students. Explore the community that surrounds campus to see what it’s like.
- DON’T leave the campus tour without telling the tour guide ahead of time. This can be distracting to other families on the tour.
- DO introduce yourself to your admissions officer who reads applications from your high school, if there’s time. Keep your visit short and sweet to make a positive impression on the admissions officer.
- DON’T monopolize the admissions officer’s time.
- DO send a thank you to anyone you met during your visit, including the tour guide, admissions officer, etc. A sincere email leaves a positive impressive and may turn into a great relationship as you go through the application process.
- DON’T send thank you notes that your parents have written. They can tell the difference.
- For the parents out there, DON’T ask too many questions during the tour or information session. This process is ultimately about your student, so let him or her do the talking.
- But DO ask about your student’s opinions after the campus visit. This is a way to express your interest and support without dominating the process!