This is it. Your hard work has paid off. Now, how do you go about choosing a college?
My journey began with the question “How do I get into college?,” which lead to late nights of searching. I can remember some long nights spent browsing the internet with my mom trying to find which college was right for me. What she didn’t know is that I had already chosen my dream school and what I didn’t know was that my dream school was not the right fit for me. Looking back, the importance of a college being the right fit was something I vaguely remember her continually bringing up. As it turns out, as usual, she was right. While I don’t regret my first college choice, I wish I had given more thought to what I would need to be successful.
So, how can you be successful in your college search? It all starts with the college visit. Below are a few of the most important things to consider when you want to visit a college.
- When should I schedule my visit?
There’s never a time that is too early to schedule your visit, but there is definitely a time that is too late. Often on a campus visit parents say, “My child is a junior; we’re visiting early.” In my opinion, they’re exactly on time. More universities are moving decision deadlines, commitment dates and scholarship application deadlines earlier in the student’s senior year of high school. This makes scheduling your campus visit during your junior year even more important. If you’re waiting until the end of your senior year of high school to visit the colleges on your list, you’re most likely going to miss something important. Plus, the earlier you get connected with the admissions office, the more information and swag you could receive. Sometimes you’ll even get a free t-shirt after your visit. Wear it with pride!
- How do I schedule a meaningful visit?
Call the main number listed on their website. Do it! Even if they have a web portal for you to schedule the visit through, give them a call instead. Calling is definitely a more human touch than the automated email response, and it gives you the opportunity to ask questions and show the school that you are seriously interested. After all, you called in instead of going through some online calendar.
- What should I expect and how should I prepare for my visit?
Ok, you’ve scheduled the campus visit. Now what? Start preparing a list of questions to ask. Your visit is a great time to get answers to every question you’ve had about college.
There will likely be a tour and a presentation. Keep in mind that some universities utilize current students to show you around campus and they may not be able to answer the tough questions. That’s okay – you can still ask them what it’s like being a student on that campus, perks, dislikes, and things that surprised them. Your guide might also be a full-time professional such as an Admissions Representative who is specifically tasked with helping you through the process of preparing to enroll. Your guide might be showing you around their beautiful campus, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also interview them!
Most importantly, don’t hesitate to ask questions when you feel the time is right. Remember, where you go to college is your choice. So make sure you’ve thoughtfully considered the questions you want to ask.