Monthly Archives: January 2016

Make the most of your college visit!

Everyday at my school, I see campus tours — parents, high school teachers, and most importantly YOU — prospective student(s)!  But, are you making the most of your campus visit?  Our book has detailed information about campus tours/visits and ways to make the most of them.

Here is a quick peek:

First:  Why visit?

If at all possible, visit the schools to which you are planning on applying.  You want to experience first hand the “feeling” of the campus — are there lots of green spaces and trees?  Or, is it urban and bustling?  Are the walkways well-manicured and maintained (look for good lighting and emergency assist markers)?  Do classrooms have modern equipment and desks/chairs in working condition?  Visiting a campus is like trying on a new pair of shoes — you want to feel if they are the right fit and style.

Second:  Questions to ask during the visit.

Before you arrive, find out if you can sit in on a class (ask to sit in on a lower division general education course); also ask to eat in the dining commons or resident hall cafeteria — get a real feel for many aspects of campus life (and check out the food!).

While on the visit, be sure to find out what makes an application competitive — do they have sample application essays?  How important is your SAT/ACT score?  How many units are required to be considered a full-time student?  Ask about cultural communities (religious, sports, political, service, etc).  Ask about popular on- and off-campus hangouts.  Ask about internships when you talk to someone in the major you might choose.  And, ask how roommates are matched in the residence halls.

Ask as much as you can while on the visit/tour — do NOT just passively follow the tour guide.  Tour guides are marketing the campus to you — which is great — but just like any highly valuable product, you want to know what you are buying — for the next 4 to 6 years. Ask tough and detailed questions.  Take notes and have fun!

Motivation & Organization

Happy New Year students! There are many things going on for you all! Here is a quick run-down of important tasks for the start of the new year – which of them apply to you?

*  All college students for the 2016-2017 academic year: it’s FAFSA time! Do not delay, do it today (or as soon as you have received your and your parent’s 2015 tax information)! Get it done before March 1!

* Returning college students: reflect on successes and challenges of last term and make a plan for success this term. See your advisor(s) immediately for time sensitive questions.

* College seniors who are working on a thesis or capstone project: outline the steps to complete this task. Set deadlines, document the activities you need to do to meet the deadlines. Plan meetings with your faculty sponsor/advisor and make sure they happen – do not let them cancel on you more than once, these final weeks will fly by. Your thesis/capstone is a great opportunity to let your light shine – this is your independent study, your passion – thrive!

* High school seniors: finish up your campus tours of places to which you applied but had not yet visited. Utilize our On the Quad campus tour worksheet to maximize the information you receive on those visits.

* High school juniors: if you haven’t already, begin making your list of colleges you are interested in researching. Utilize our On the Quad self-assessment worksheet to reflect on why you want to go to college and what expectations you have for yourself the school you attend.

* All students: begin your search for a summer internship! Now is the time to research options, polish your resume and write a good cover letter. Bring your second or third drafts to your career center for fine tuning. In this process you will discover there are interesting opportunities you have already missed – plan on them for next year!

Maximize your new year motivation and make it a great term!