Six Great Things To Do When You Visit Campus
Go See Campus' tool for planning college trips offers you a ton of activities for when you visit campus. Being at the college gives you the opportunity to see student life in ways beyond the basic campus tour. Read on to learn about six of the most valuable activities in which you can participate.
When You Visit Campus, Take Advantage of Additional Tour Opportunities
Many universities provide tours that go to places other than the major campus buildings. For example, some schools offer residence hall tours that let visitors see student living quarters. The nice thing about a residence hall tour is that students can get a sense of what life is like outside of the classroom (here are some ideas about what to ask during a residence hall or university tour.)
Another offering from many universities is self-guided tours. Some schools will provide a map marked with a walking path and information about each stop. Others offer downloadable audio tours for when you visit campus.
With self-guided tours, you miss out on the important interaction with a tour guide and with other visitors exploring the school. However, if you want to see the campus at your own pace; if a guided tour is unavailable; or if you are taking university tours during the summer, the self-guided option may be a good fit.
Meet the Admissions Office at an Information Session
These events are offered regularly at most schools. An information session is a forum in which a group of high school students receive information from the admissions office and other staff affiliated with the university, including academic representatives, financial aid staff, or student ambassadors.
Typically, it includes a set of presentations and a question-and-answer period. An information session provides basic background on the school, but it also can give you insight into the culture of the university, the expectations of the admissions office, and details about applying that may not be available elsewhere. It's also a good opportunity to get to know some of the admissions staff.
Interview with the Admissions Office
Some universities offer high school students the opportunity to have an on-campus interview that will impact the admissions decision. If this is offered, we recommend taking advantage only after the student has prepared for the discussion. You can check out our advice on getting ready for interviews for more details.
In addition to an interview, many universities connect students with a representative of the admissions office to have a one-on-one conversation about the school. These discussions may not impact the admissions decision (each university has different guidelines), but speaking with a representative in this setting will give you a more intimate perspective on the university. You can find the admissions representative responsible for your area by using our search tool for colleges.
Dine On or Around the College When You Visit Campus
The admissions office may provide you with a free or discounted meal at a school dining hall. This is a great way to see a slice of college life. Also, if you decide to attend, knowing about the food offerings may help you determine what type of meal plan you want to purchase.
Go See Campus recommends that you check out the surrounding neighborhood when you visit campus, and grabbing a bite to eat at a student hangout will give you an excuse to walk or drive through it. Take a close look and determine whether essential services, such as grocery stores, are located nearby. Also, consider whether the neighborhood appears well-maintained, safe, and brightly lit.
In Addition to the Admissions Office, Meet with Professors and Coaches
A discussion with a professor in your area of focus can help you see how the school's academic offerings fit with your interests. Forming a relationship with a professor may also give you a head-start when deciding on classes, advisors, and other academic-related issues.
High school athletes who want to play in college may choose to meet with coaches during their visit. Before you hit the road, though, you should review the information available through our trip planning tool or contact the admissions office, which may be able to direct you to the appropriate contact. Guidelines for athletic recruitment are not always publicized well, so this may take some research.
Attend a School Event When You Visit Campus
Taking part in a school-sponsored activity is a great way to experience life as a student. If there are specific organizations that you think you would like to join, such as student government, college radio, or theatre, you can get to know these organization. Or see school spirit in action at a campus festival or athletic competition. Go See Campus' trip planning tool links to calendars at each school for these types of event.
It is likely that you will not have time to do all of the above on your trip. But the more you take part in these school activities, the better an understanding you will have of what each university has to offer. Plan a trip now, or check out more advice about the search for colleges.