What Are My Campus Visit Options?
There are honestly quite a few ways to go about visiting potential colleges and universities, so you can take advantage of as many as you want. There’s your standard campus tour, which typically takes about an hour. You can opt for guided tours and a chat with admissions. You can also choose to delve deeper into the experience by taking advantage of an overnight or summer program. We’ll go through each option in more detail.
These are the classic deals you’ll see on sitcoms where the parents come along and embarrassing antics ensue. Don’t panic — it’s not going to be like that. Most likely.
However it pans out, though, you’re probably not going to be able to talk them out of tagging along for the visit. They love you. They just want what’s best for you. Yeah, it’s frustrating. I get it, but they’re there to help you.
A classic campus tour is best undertaken during Monday through Thursday to get a real feel of the campus. The size of the campus plays a huge role in how “populated” the school feels — regardless of the actual number of students. If you can’t swing a weekday visit, coming on a weekend is also an option, and there’s plenty of information you can glean about the social scene.
Pro-tip: Don’t just ask your guide. While they’re undoubtedly great representatives of the school, they are, in many ways, there to sell you on the campus. Don’t be afraid to chat with random students idling about, and it can be simple things you ask them that’ll really help you get a feel for how the institute operates.
Campus Tour + Meeting With Admissions
This version of a college or university visit is cut, copy, and paste of the previous entry, but tacking on a meeting with admissions.
While it’s often not required, it can be to your benefit to sit down with an admissions officer. The word “officer” may sound intimidating, but don’t be deterred due to a title — they want interested students. In fact, that’s exactly what chatting with someone in admissions is really ideal for demonstrated interest. It can be the oomph that gets your application stamped with the words “admitted.”
Overnight Campus Visit
These are definitely an ideal option for campuses that you’re really interested in. It’s a pretty nice setup. You’ll get paired with a student (in a specific department that you’re interested in, if you request one) and you’ll shadow them for a class or two and spend the night in their dorm room.
It accomplishes a few things, first, you’ll get to see the college or university in full swing. You’ll immediately understand the vibe of the campus, whether it’s the tempo of a speeding freight train at all times or more leisurely, like molasses on a hot summer day.
You’ll have opportunities to mingle with a bunch of different students and ask them all about their individual experiences. You’ll spend enough time in the buildings to see how new they are, what kind of tech they’re hosting, and see popular hang out areas. Plus, you’ll see the inside of dorm rooms, try food in the cafeteria, meet professors, and a whole host of other unique experiences that you wouldn’t get otherwise.
This is the triple-threat of campus visits: you can get a feel for college curriculum, spend time on campus, and accomplish some serious demonstrated interest in one fell swoop. There are tons of summer program options you can look into, including ones geared towards majors you’re interested in.
The caveat for this type of visit is that they can be pricier than other options depending on the type of program. Many have financial aid options, and some have an application process where, if you get chosen, the program is free. It all depends on the type! If you want to jump into the college world head-first, this is a great way to do it.
These are just the most general options you can take advantage of when it comes to visiting colleges that you’re interested in. Is an active sports scene on your must-have list? Check out a game. Come for an open house or take advantage of any of the other unique ways campuses present themselves!