Tips to Get the Most Out of Your College Visit
Fit is arguably one of the most important factors when it comes to choosing a college.
“As a former admissions officer and someone who now works directly with students, I am here to say fit, above all else, should guide every applicant’s strategy,” Rachel Abramowitz, a College Admissions Counselor at IvyWise, says. “It shouldn’t be surprising to hear that not every student will do well or be happy at the most well-known colleges and universities. Prioritizing schools that match a specific student’s needs and interests is the best thing any parent can do. Fit is the foundation for a good college experience. It requires a commitment to analysis and reflection, but ultimately ensures a student’s abilities will be strengthened and nurtured during their time in college.”
And there’s no better way to gauge fit than by visiting a college and getting a feel for the campus, community, and atmosphere. US News recently offered a few tips on how college applicants can make the most out of their college visits and how they can make sure that the school is the right fit for them.
College visits take time and energy. If you’re hoping to get ahead of your travels, be sure to plan early. Most experts recommend visiting colleges during the spring semester of your junior year.
While students may choose to tour a college before this point, they will have a more accurate sense of their test scores during their junior year and thus be able to create a balanced college list on the basis of how their scores compare to the average scores for applicants admitted to schools they are interested in,” Christopher Rim, CEO of Command Education and Contributor at Forbes, says.
Prior to your visit, be sure to prepare a list of questions to ask that will help you learn more about the school and what the experience is like on campus.
“I think the best way to make the most of the tours is to ask a lot of good questions of the tour guide and to engage with any current students to get their opinion on life on the campus,” Satyajit Dattagupta, chief enrollment officer and senior vice chancellor at Northeastern University in Massachusetts, says.
CONNECT WITH STUDENTS
The best way to gain authentic insight into school life is by seeking the perspective of a current student. Start connecting with students at your target schools and ask questions about the school’s academics, facilities, dining services, student life, and more.
“Talk to as many students as you can to get a flavor of the student population,” Liz Doe Stone, a senior private counselor for Top Tier Admissions, an admissions consulting company, says. “Email students from your high school who attend that school and ask to get together for coffee when you’re on campus.”
EXPLORE CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS
A huge aspect of your college experience is the social component. The clubs and organizations that you join are just as important as the classes you enroll in. During your campus visit, be sure to meet with clubs and organizations that interest you.
“I always tell students to talk to any extracurricular leaders tied into your interest,” Stone says. “So if you’re a violin player, speak to someone in the music department. If you love drama, talk to someone who is the head of the theater club.”
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