Juniors, NOW is the time to get serious about planning for college! Some important tasks you can knock out in the spring of your junior year include taking the ACT, doing some job shadowing in your anticipated field of study, setting up your ScholarshipQuest account to begin searching for scholarships, and going on campus visits! This blog will focus on the latter of the tasks mentioned…campus visits!
When to Visit
Spring of your junior year is the ideal time to go on campus visits. Taking your campus visits prior to your senior year will help you to begin narrowing down your list of potential colleges.
I recommend visiting while classes are in session rather than on the weekends. This will allow you to peek in on a class or two to see the student-to-faculty ratio. It will also allow you to see the faces of students who attend that particular institution, and give you a real feel of the campus environment.
Setting Up a Visit
Colleges prefer that you schedule your tour at least two weeks prior to your desired visit date. This will help admissions to tailor your visit toward your specific needs. For example, if you have a certain major you’re considering, they can arrange for you to meet with a faculty member or department staff. If you plan to participate in a sport, they can potentially set up a meeting with a member of the coaching staff.
If you can swing it, visit multiple colleges so you can compare them to each other and find the one that’s the right fit for you! Contact the college’s admissions office or hop on their website to schedule your visit(s) soon!
To make your visits more effective, sit down ahead of time and write out a list of questions you’d like to have answered about each college. Your questions may be directed toward an admissions representative, financial aid counselor, faculty member, or even current students at each college. Take LOTS of notes and photos during your tour. You’ll be glad you did when it’s time to compare colleges and narrow your choices. For suggested questions to ask, check out our Campus Visit Questions handout.
What to Expect While on a Visit
The admissions staff generally does a welcome session to begin the day. They will then break the visitors into smaller groups, keeping parents and students together for tours. Student ambassadors will take each group and show you around campus…so expect to do a lot of walking! The tour guide will provide insight about the college, fun facts about buildings, and share information about various activities that you can participate in while attending that institution. You’ll get to check out campus housing, the student union, the fitness center, classrooms, the library, and even eat lunch in the cafeteria. This is also a great time to ask your ambassador about their college experience thus far. Make sure to get all of your questions answered before your visit concludes.
Wrap Up Your Day
Take some time to walk around campus with your parents/guardian and chat about your day. Also, drive around the town to discover points of interest. What do you (and they) like and dislike about this college and/or community? Ask yourself if you can imagine spending the next two to four years in this environment. After all, this is a big investment and you want to make sure it’s the right fit!
By Jacquie Butler