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!