Welcome back to the second part of my articles on college visits. In the first article, I talked about why campus visits are important and tips on how to “visit” no matter how much spare money you have. If you haven’t checked out the first part of the article yet, please click here. Today, we are going to talk about tricks for what you should do while on your campus visit.
First of all, what can I do while visiting a college? The most common activities include:
- Info Session
- Campus Tour
- Overnight Stay
Now let’s dive into each of them for more details.
- Info Session—about 30-40 minutes
It is usually given by an admissions counselor who will give you (and your family) a brief introduction to the school. You will learn what majors are offered, whether they have separate colleges for engineering, the admissions and financial aid policies, etc. A current student sometimes joins in to give you a student’s perspective. He or she can describe what a typical school day looks like, the sports events, the Quidditch club, and their friend groups, etc. As weird as it sounds, I would STRONGLY RECOMMEND you to take notes while listening. Why? Because these interesting facts that you like could turn into nice details in your “why this college” essays. After they are done talking, you might get a chance to ask specific questions.
- Campus Tour—about 30-40 minutes
This is usually a fun part! You get to walk around campus while a tour guide explains what each gorgeous building is, and interesting historical facts or school traditions. The tour guides are generally very friendly and they would love to answer your questions about their school.
- Overnight Stay
Sometimes, a college may allow you to stay in their dorm for a night. You will need to check their websites or reach out to the admissions counselors if you are interested. This is a great way to experience residential life and get to know current students. Some of the fly-in programs include over-night stays and are completely FREE for disadvantaged students. Useful websites provided in my previous article!
- Interview—duration varies widely
You typically have a chance to schedule an on-campus interview before your visit. An interview can help the admissions to learn more about you as a person while also giving you a better understanding of the school’s values. I would encourage you to take this chance to boost your application. To learn how to prepare and succeed in your college interviews, please visit my previous article: “How to ace the college admissions interview?”
Now, let’s talk about strategies to make the most out of your campus visit. Obviously, it costs a lot of time and money to get here, we wouldn’t want to go home and still understand nothing about the school. So what questions should you ask around to learn as much as possible? I’m going to share “9 Savvy Questions to Get You in the Know” from Mount Holyoke College. You are, of course, not obligated to ask all of them during your visit, but they are helpful examples that you could consider.
Images from mtholyoke.edu
P.S. To learn about how to organize your college application process, see a list of schools that offer full-ride scholarships and free mentoring programs for low-income students, please visit my previous article: “The College Application Timeline and Full-ride Scholarships.”