Making the Most of Your College Visit

By Elizabeth LaScala, PhD

As a college advisor for the past 15 years, I believe the best way for prospective students to get to know a college or university is to visit. Finding the right college fit starts with walking across the quad, sitting in on a class, checking out the residence options and having breakfast, lunch or just a snack during your visit. I encourage my students to make their campus visit count in the following ways:

  • First, schedule tours well in advance—tours fill up during popular visiting times (e.g. spring break, long weekends). Be sure to schedule time with specific department(s) and immerse yourself more fully into the degree program of interest.
  • Send a written request to meet with an academic adviser or faculty member and draw up a list of questions to ask.
  • Talk with current students, starting with your campus tour guide. He or she can share what it’s really like to live and learn here. Then ask the academic advisor you meet with to share the names of students (sometimes called mentors) who are willing to talk with prospective students—you can follow up on this soon after the tour—it is hard to cram everything into one visit.
  • Drop by the Admissions and Financial Aid Offices to visit with the experts about the application process and cost of attendance.

A good school is one that is prepared to help informed consumers. College is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Skip schools that are not willing to spend time with you when you visit and move on to those that take an active interest in preparing the next generation for success.

Continue reading my “Four Must Dos on Campus Visits” to get even more out of each visit.