How Important Are College Visits?
Most high school students are aware that the college admissions process is multi-faceted and can be very time-consuming. With the demands of building a college list, preparing for standardized tests, writing application essays and more, it can often feel like “fun” things like college visits shouldn’t be prioritized. However, not all applicants understand the unique and important role campus visits play in the college admissions process.
Visiting multiple schools allows students to gain perspective on what kind of environment they are looking for, and it also helps applicants highlight their interest in prospective colleges. There’s more to campus visits, however, than just being a “gut check” on whether or not a school is a good fit for a student. Here a few other reasons why college visits are important and what applicants can do to ensure they gain as much as possible from each visit.
Visits Show Demonstrated Interest
Colleges are eager to admit applicants who have done their research and are excited about the possibility to attend a specific school. Every university strives to maintain their yield rate, or the number of accepted applicants who choose to enroll. Colleges are looking for students who demonstrate strong knowledge and interest in a school as they may be more likely to enroll if admitted. Visiting a college is one way in which applicants can demonstrate their interest in a specific institution, as they get first-hand experience of the campus, and some colleges even track whether or not students have visited. In order to ensure the college has a record of your visit, register in advance for official tours and information sessions.
You Can Picture Yourself on Campus
Not sure whether you’d prefer a large research institution or a small liberal arts college? Physically placing yourself in different types of college environments may help you determine what kind of learning atmosphere is most appealing to you. Even students with preconceived notions about what kind of college they wish to attend should consider visiting other schools to make sure they are not missing out on any alternatives that may ultimately be a better match. Strive to tour colleges in both rural locations and bustling cities and be sure to visit institutions of different sizes to gain perspective on what you are looking for.
Get In-Depth Details Direct from the Source
Students need to research colleges thoroughly in order to create a balanced list of best-fit schools and to craft university-specific supplement essays that highlight their knowledge of each institution. While a school’s website is a great starting point, touring a college will enable students to take their knowledge of the institution to the next level. Tours and information sessions provide prospective applicants with the opportunity to ask questions, explore landmarks on campus, and learn what sets the college apart. In order to walk away with as much information as possible, applicants may wish to sit in on a lecture, eat at an on-campus dining hall, and look into staying overnight with a current student.
Can’t Visit? Seek Out Alternatives
While touring every college on your best-fit list in-person may be ideal, it is not always feasible. If you’re unable to physically visit your top-choice schools, look into virtual tours. Many universities provide their own digital visits on their websites and YouVisit has hundreds of college tours to choose from. Additionally, viewing a college’s social media channels can help students get a sense of the events and activities happening on campus. For students who are looking for alternative ways to learn more about schools and to demonstrate their interest, consider visiting a local college fair where representatives from your top-choice schools will be.
Whether you are preparing for your first college tour or attempting to finalize your list of best-fit schools, don’t hesitate to reach out for help throughout the application process. School counselors and independent admissions consultants can help students navigate college tours and refine their list of institutions to apply to. Our team of ivy league admissions counseling experts can help you plan school visits, brainstorm question to ask during information sessions, and prepare for application season. Contact us today for more information on our college counseling services!