Before you make a decision about which college you will attend, it is vital that you visit the campuses of at least the final six (6) colleges that you are considering. It would be tough to make a four-year attendance commitment to a college or university without first getting an idea of the personality of the institution. Every school will present itself as the ideal" institution in the literature provided to prospective students; however, only by seeing the campus and visiting with the people will you know if it is actually ideal for you.
Colleges across the country encourage students to visit their campuses. They recognize that a campus visit is, by far, the best way for the student to become familiar with the school. The college campus visit also allows the school to make a personal assessment of you as a potential member of the college community.
Think of campus visits as your opportunity to visit with students and faculty and observe how students live in the college environment. This observation and information will give you an idea as to whether or not you would be able to achieve your goals and prosper academically at that particular college or university.
Although you may miss a day or two of high school classes, visiting a college campus during the week is essential to receive an accurate impression of the school. In addition, you should contact the school’s admissions office to arrange an overnight stay if possible.
Whenever possible, your parents should visit the campuses with you. Their observations may prove invaluable when it is time to make your final college selection. Keep in mind that six ears can usually hear more than two!
During your campus visits, be sure and schedule the following:
Spend time with as many members of the college community as you can. Meet with students from different academic years, talk with professors, get acquainted with members of extra-curricular organizations in which you might be interested… the possibilities are endless.
Spend time in the dormitories. Remember that these will likely be your living arrangements for at least one year of your college career. Are they acceptable?
Schedule meetings (ahead of time) with the school’s admissions officer and financial aid officer. These meetings will lay the foundation for the college’s evaluation and acceptance of you as a student. These meetings are perfect for making that excellent first impression!
Admissions Officer – During your meeting with the college's admissions officer you have two general goals: To tell the college about yourself and to find out all you can about the college or university. Be certain to familiarize the admissions officer with your personal goals, aspirations, and achievements.
Financial Aid Officer – During your meeting with the college’s financial aid officer, be prepared to briefly discuss the following information: Your family’s financial condition; your family’s ballpark net worth; and your parents’ general income range. This information will allow the financial aid officer to at least provide you with an idea of the possible funding package that may be offered. This also allows the financial aid officer to become familiar with your particular situation and funding needs.