It's time to hit the road and visit
To help determine if a college is a good fit for you- keep asking "Do I see myself here?" There are certain "intangibles" for each school that can only be experienced through a visit. A successful college visit can also give you a competitive edge in gaining admission.
You and your parent(s)/ guardian
The ideal time to visit a college campus is when school is in session, when all students are on campus attending classes and when school personnel are available to meet with you. Realistically, summer works best for most families and therefore most admissions offices are geared to summer visits. While the campus life will be less busy than the regular school year, you should be able to get a "feel" for the college.
If your target schools are all close to home, visiting all is strongly encouraged. If your list ranges from California to Maine, this may be more difficult. It is all about being able to make good comparisons, so you should try to visit as many of your target schools as possible before filling out the applications.
WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL COLLEGE VISIT?
Make as many arrangements in advance including:
- a campus tour and information session
- a one-on-one interview with someone in the admissions office
- meeting with someone in the financial aid office
- attending a class and meeting with a professor in your area of interest
- connecting with a coach if you are considering playing a sport in college
Make the campus visit your own: find time to informally walk around the campus to feel the "chemistry" of the school, talk with students, go to the favorite eating spot, read bulletin boards to see what's happening on campus, take photos of the campus, etc.
IF YOU CANNOT VISIT:
- Look at virtual tours on college websites
- Email the admissions office with your questions
- Visit with representatives of the colleges who come to your school
- Look at a video/CD produced by the college, if available