It’s that time of year again – college visit season! College visits are an extremely important part of the college prep process, as it’s often the final step that students take before finalizing their balanced college lists. There’s a lot to take in when visiting a campus for the first time, so make sure that you’re making the most of your trip with tips from our team of expert college admissions counselors.
Here are four college visit tips from our team of expert counselors to help you make the most of your spring college visits.
Plan Multiple Visits Over Spring Break
A week off from school is prime time to visit a number of the schools on your balanced college list. When planning multiple college visits over a short period of time, it’s important to make sure you maximize your time at each school while also leaving enough room in the schedule to account for any delays. At IvyWise we advise students to plan no more than two visits, at schools that are relatively geographically close, in one day. This is where time management and prior planning is key. While you need to spend as much time as you can at each campus, don’t spend all day at one school, leaving yourself only an hour or two at another.
Students and parents should do thorough research before planning visits over spring break or a long weekend. Make a detailed schedule of flight or driving times, information session times and locations, any meetings with professors, lunch times and locations, and more. Planning multiple visits takes a lot of groundwork beforehand, but when done properly it can help students get a more complete picture of the schools on their list and determine if those institutions are, ultimately, best-fit colleges for them.
Try To Sit In On A Class
Information sessions and the subsequent campus tour are essential to a successful college visit, but there’s more to the campus that just seeing the landscape. Some schools will allow students to sit in on a class in either a subject of interest or given by a professor of interest as long as they give advance notice. Many schools request that a prospective student arrive to class before it begins, inform the professor, and also require a visiting student to stay for the entirety of the class. This is a great way to get first-hand experience with the classes that you might be taking if you end up attending.
Live Like A Student For A Day
Outside of sitting in on a class, there are a number of other ways to “live like a student” while visiting some of your top-choice schools. If you have a friend already attending the school, or the college offers prospective students overnight visits in a dorm, try to stay in student housing so you get a sense of what it’s like to actually live on campus. Eat a meal or two in a dining hall. If you have time attend a sporting event or performance on campus. Hang out in the student union. Visit the library and bookstore, and spend a few minutes in town off campus to get a sense of the surrounding community. Spend some of your visit living like a student so that you get a full picture of what it will be like to live there for the next four years.
Get Acquainted With The Admissions Office
The college visit is often the first chance that students have to get some face time with the people who help make admissions decisions. The information session is usually led by a current admissions officer, so make sure you ask all the questions you have about the application and admissions process. While you’re there, see if it’s possible to meet the reader for your area, or at least get his or her contact information so that you can reach out should you have any questions when applying. Don’t miss this opportunity to get to know the people at the admissions office!
Spring is a busy time for college bound students, and college visits, while fun, can add an extra layer of stress during this critical college prep time. With proper planning before embarking on your college visit journeys, you can maximize your time while still getting to see a number of schools on your list. At IvyWise, we like to take the guesswork out of the college admissions process, especially when it comes to building a balanced college list and planning college visits. If you need help deciding where to apply, or some assistance planning your campus visits this spring, contact us today for more information on our college counseling and college visit planning services!