Tips for a Successful Campus Visit
1. Contact the college’s Admissions Office well in advance of your intended visit. This will help to ensure that appointments are still available on the date you prefer.
2. April vacation is prime time for juniors to visit a college. Many colleges host open houses, special information sessions, and extra campus tours during this very busy week. Call early!
3. College students are very open to offering their opinions and assistance to visiting high school families. Take advantage of their availability, especially tour guides, to ask any questions you have.
4. Be attentive to the condition of campus buildings, the upkeep of the campus grounds, and how well equipped you find academic and technology buildings and labs.
5. Pay close attention to what students talk about. Get a sense of what their priorities are at each college. It’s always impressive to see students who are genuinely excited about certain classes, or professors, or an upcoming internship or semester abroad. Yes, college students all want to have fun, but you’ll be especially impressed by a college whose students clearly know the main reason they are there—getting an education!
6. Ask students about availability of faculty and academic advisors. All colleges like to boast about close faculty/student interaction and support, but it’s more a fact at some than at others.
7. Always ask to see typical freshmen housing. Most colleges offer quite a range of housing options. Make sure the tour displays both the nicest housing options as well as some of the less desirable options—often reserved for first year students.
8. A choice of college is a major decision. Tours often highlight a college’s strength. Make sure you probe students to also determine some of the college’s weaknesses. Every college has some and you want to make sure they’re ‘acceptable’ weaknesses for you.
9. Make some brief notes about each visit, including things you liked and things you didn’t particularly like. These notes will be helpful a year from now as decision time approaches.
10. Enjoy this phase of your life. College visits can be fun and memorable.
Handout from MEFA (www.mefa.org). The Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, is a state-created non-profit providing accurate and credible college planning resources to families and students in Massachusetts.