Go See Campus When Choosing a College
Whether you are just beginning to look at universities or you are already submitting applications, you are probably familiar with some of the resources that can help you in choosing a college.
Asking for opinions from family and friends, reading materials provided by the universities, checking out college guidebooks, and meeting with college counselors are all important, and we have plenty of information to help you along the way.
Still, we think visiting colleges is the biggest step you can take in your search for schools. That's why parents and students go on trips year after year to see universities for themselves, and it is the reason we created Go See Campus. Read on for some of the major benefits of the on-campus experience.
Visit College Campuses to Understand What University Life Is Like
For most students, college means moving from the scheduled rigor and structure of high school to a world of academic independence and responsibility. New activities and relationships will provide opportunities and challenges that students have not experienced before. When high school students visit college campuses, especially as part of an extended or overnight visit, they have an opportunity to see for themselves how great a transition this can be.
High school students can also use trips to campus to get better ideas about the culture and type of environment they prefer for their college experience. They might find they like large suburban campuses, small liberal arts colleges, or universities with religious affiliations. Plus, visiting different parts of the country can prepare students for changes in weather and climate. Whether you are a Texas gal who wants to live in the snowy north or a Wisconsin guy who wants to try a school in the desert, getting a taste beforehand can help ensure a more comfortable university stay.
Improve Your Applications with Visits to College Campuses
Making visits can help you narrow your focus to certain schools. It can also give you experiences that you can use as part of the admissions process.
Going to see college campuses before you apply can help you refine your list of target schools even further. As a result, you can spend more time on applications to colleges in which you have a genuine and passionate interest. Plus, you can reduce the time and cost involved by not filling out admissions applications for schools that you will have decided against.
Once you have visited the campuses of the schools you are targeting, you may find yourself better prepared to take on college interviews and applications. Personal experiences with college students and professors can help you can describe why you want to attend a particular university, why you are a fit for the school, and what you can contribute academically and socially if admitted.
Make Choosing a College Easier
Get to know the activities and people at each school you are considering, and you can make a more informed decision about which university you want to attend. When you visit, you can take advantage of a number of opportunities for experiencing campus life:
- Being at the school provides you the chance to have discussions with current students. While admissions offices may give you great information, student perspectives can be invaluable for learning about real life at each college.
- Attending an open house program lets you meet other applicants who could end up in your freshman class.
- On campus, you can get a sense of what you might do for fun as a student. Check out meetings of college organizations, festivals, and athletic events.
- If you have a specific major in mind, you can meet with a college professor or a school department to see what types of academic offerings await you.
- For students who want to play athletics in college, some campuses offer opportunities to speak with coaches.
Visiting College Campuses Can Help Parents Support Their Students
Parents can have a dialogue with their children by seeing college campuses for themselves, participating in admissions activities, and meeting college students, faculty, and staff. While it is important that the high school students remain responsible for researching, applying for, and deciding on colleges, informed and active parents can help guide them in their efforts.
Of course, visiting campus together has rewards that go beyond choosing a college. It is also an opportunity to make lifelong memories. We remember the trips we took with our parents to visit schools, whether it was sneaking into New York City for deli sandwiches between school visits, getting lost on a road trip through the northeast ("What's a Tappan Zee Bridge?"), or taking campus tours in California.
Our parents saw us as adults in the choices we were making, and we saw our parents as partners in the journey ahead. It made a big difference when we faced application deadlines, rejections, and final decisions on schools. Funny how a little time in the car together can do that.