As you narrow your list of options of where to attend next fall and your college acceptances arrive, one of the best ways to determine which school is a good fit for you is to visit the college.
Even if you already visited the campus when you were deciding where to apply, visit again. “Visiting a college when you’ve been accepted can be a very different experience than visiting before you applied. Sometimes students are afraid to “fall in love” with a college if they don’t know if they will be admitted or can afford it. It is also a possibility that visiting again you will be able to look beyond prestige or status and better consider if the school is a good fit.” credit
Links to tips for preparing for a college visit:
An in-person visit of course is the best option, but if time, distance or cost are too much of an obstacle – do your best to experience a visit virtually.
If a college visit isn’t practical, here is what you can do from home or school:
- Spend time on the college’s website – look for these campus aspects
- Look for video tours online
- Locate and review college’s academic department, professor, and course web pages
- Search for student perspective on social media
- Review online professor ratings
- Read the campus newspaper
- Reach the news from the surrounding area near by campus
- Checkout the college’s financial aid website – Accessible services? Scholarship opportunities?
- Talk with local current students or recent alumni.
- Meet with college reps at college fairs
Virtual tours can present a limited view, so try these suggestions to increase your virtual experience:
- Locate alternate, student-produced viewpoints: Just as individuals with similar interests often join together, students at the same college or university often create their own online communities…a glimpse of authentic student life credit
- Pair virtual campus tours with local alumni interviews: If you can’t visit a college, let the college visit you – specifically, find a local graduate of the school and ask if the individual will grant you a short interview. credit
- View several virtual college tours for the same school: While some institutions produce their own virtual tours, private companies have also made many online tours. As a result, multiple tours may be available, each with a somewhat different viewpoint. Remember that a single virtual tour is just a start. You have a range of tools available to help you understand the college community you hope to join. credit
- Find out what you can about the scene like off campus. Restaurants, nightlife, coffee shops, art galleries, live music venues—your college town (or city) may have a lot to offer on the weekends when you feel like getting away from campus. Find out what the locals do for fun when they’re not hitting the books. credit
- Research support services that are available to students. At most colleges, you’ll find a lot of opportunities for support and community, depending on your needs and what you’re looking for. Some schools offer mental well-being and counseling services to students, but you’ll want to find out if they cost you anything out of pocket. credit