With nicer weather hopefully on the horizon, high school juniors and their parents should consider visiting some prospective colleges during the upcoming months. Planning ahead can help families get the most benefits from the campus visits.
Some tips for getting the most out of visiting college campuses are the following: 1) Visit as many colleges as possible while there is no pressure. It is essential to get a very broad view on all of the options available. It is very important not to feel rushed or stressed while making initial visits. A good practice is to schedule a visit at least two weeks in advance.
2) Contact the college admissions offices to inquire about the opportunities which are available for visiting campuses. Weekdays when school is in session are the best times to visit. However, there are admissions visitation days or open houses or tours offered on a particular schedule that could fall on a weekend. If possible, ask to set up appointments to speak to professors and current students in the desired major or department. In addition, a meeting with the financial aid officer would also be helpful. If a preliminary admissions interview is offered, the student should strongly consider it.
3) Research everything about the school and determine some specific questions to ask while visiting campus. Some suggestions for questions include asking about class size, professors vs. teaching assistants, campus security and transportation, student programs and resources (including special interest residence halls), the local community and relationship to the college, the location of residence halls to the rest of campus and to the dining areas, and the overall college culture.
4) Develop a list of what the student believes are the most important college characteristics. While visiting each campus, he or she should take notes on each and determine likes and dislikes. It is very easy to have the colleges visited merge in one’s mind. Taking notes will help to alleviate this issue for the student. Another good practice is to take pictures so that there is a visual reminder of various landmarks at each of the schools. Another suggestion is to look at posted college images taken by other students on Instagram to get other perspectives.
5) Build relationships with tour guides, admissions representatives, current students, and professors while visiting each campus. Be sure to ask for their contact information.
6) Connect with the admissions representative that is assigned to the student’s area. It is a good practice to meet with that person and communicate afterward with any questions or concerns or to demonstrate continued interest.
7) Take virtual college tours www.collegeweeklive.com or http://www.youniversitytv.com/. Keep in mind that colleges will show their best features on the videos, but they are a convenient and inexpensive way to become familiar with various college campuses prior to on-campus visits.
8) Think about all options very carefully. Focus on which school(s) will best meet the academic needs of the student. Where will the student be most valued for his/her contributions to the campus as a whole?
9) Compare and contrast the schools and determine which ones to submit applications. There are some free websites which can also help, such as www.bigfuture.org or www.actstudent.org.
10) Visit schools again on Accepted Student Days or privately to get a feel for the school once the student is accepted.
NEPA Career and College Counseling Associates – Excellence in Career and College Preparation – is available to help students find their ideal career and college major. Services include aiding in the college admissions process, setting up college visits, arranging career shadow experiences, advising students on college admissions testing, resume development, essays, financial aid and scholarships.
Contact Jennifer L. Severini-Kresock, who is an experienced private career and college counselor, and NACAC Professional Member, PACAC Professional Member, PASFAA Associate Member, and IECA Associate member, at (570) 702-5700 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on this article and on her career and college preparation services.
Additional information can also be found at the following: https://nepacareerandcollegecounseling.com, LIKE on Facebook—NEPA Career and College Counseling and FOLLOW on Twitter @nepacareerandco.