Shannon Brady, M.Ed
Founder of TheCollegeMIND • Director of Academic & College Counseling, Brady College Counseling

Campus Visits – How to Make the Most of YOUR Visits

Springtime means campus visit time!  That’s right, one of the BEST ways to learn about a college is to get onto their campus and engage in a tour and information session with the office of admissions.  You may not know where to start when planning your visits, here are some quick tips to help you make the most of your time on campus.

If traveling is not in the picture this spring, you may want to consider visiting local campuses to gain some perspective on the “types” of colleges that are out there.  Looking at a variety of colleges can be important in order to help you narrow down your preferences when creating a well-balanced college list.  This means visiting public vs private schools, small vs large, urban vs. rural…If you are planning to get in the car or plane to visit an already existing list, fantastic!

Step 1:  Visit the office of admissions website to see on-campus visit options.

This may be the first time you will have some face time with the admissions officers helping make the decision in your application.  You’ll want to see what options you have to sign up for official campus tours and information sessions.  This official “try-out” will help you see what it is like to be a student there.  This visit will help you understand their application process as well.  Remember that most admissions offices have a regional admissions representative who is in charge of reading YOUR application.  Be sure to get acquainted with this person.

You’ll have to be strategic in lining up these visits- we suggest doing no more than two visits a day and remember to take notes!

Step 2:  Go beyond the tour and info session and try it on a bit more.

You may have a friend who is already attending a college you are visiting so maybe an overnight visit is in your future.  Plan on eating a meal or two at their dining hall.  If you have time to visit with the department that you are interested in majoring in, this is a great way to learn more.  It is important to check out the surrounding area to get a sense of what the community off-campus is like.

Step 3: Follow up with a Thank You & Continue Demonstrated Interest.

Send an email or written note to admissions thanking them (or a specific individual) for spending time with you and learning more about their institution.  Reflect on a few areas that stuck out to you about the visit and what you learned.  Remember that many colleges will follow your demonstrated interest in the pre-application process- they want to see you on their campus, engaging with their regional rep, and participating in off-campus events, if possible.

Check out the Factors in College Preferences and join us in Module 3 to learn more about College Research.

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