My College Visit Experiences
Visiting different universities is a great way to learn more about what being a student there would be like, but it can be intimidating. I visited 3 schools before making my final decision, and they were all helpful for different reasons. Hopefully my experiences will give you a better idea of what to do when visiting your own schools.
School 1: The Reach
When applying to college, many students decide to look at their potential schools in three categories: reach schools, match schools, and safety schools. The first school I visited was my reach school, Washington University in St. Louis. For me, the most helpful part of this visit was the admission counselor’s presentation. He talked about the school’s philosophy when it comes to education and gave us a little insight into what it is like for students academically. I think the best thing you can do is ask questions and share some about yourself when vising reach schools. Current students, admissions counselors, and anyone else working at the visit you attend expect people to ask them questions. Speaking up will help you stand out, and if you really want to impress, get the admissions counselors email and then send them a thank you message after your visit. They just might remember that when looking over your application.
School 2: The Match
When I visited Chapman University, I really thought I would attend there. I had already been accepted and wanted to visit before I made my final decision just to be sure. This visit was important because the school was all the way across the country in California. Knowing that my family was moving to Georgia after my graduation, I needed to be 100% sure about this school. So on this visit, the most important thing was student life. What is a normal week like for students at this university? What kinds of things do students do in their free time? I really wanted to make sure that I could see myself fitting into life there and finding a community since my family and friends would be as far from me as you can get. The most helpful parts of the visit were the tour and conversations with current students. The students I talked to were all really open and honest about their personal experiences. They made me pretty confident in what I envisioned life at Chapman was like. (Chapman Bonus: Its only 15 min. from Disneyland!)
School 3: The Safety
One of my safety schools was the University of Tennessee. In all honesty, I had absolutely no desire to visit UT. I wasn’t planning on even applying, mainly because of the school’s size. It’s a large state university, and I wanted to go somewhere much smaller. My fear was that I would get lost in the crowds and never get to know any one very well because there were thousands and thousands of students around me. I ended up visiting because it’s the Alma Mater of both my parents. My dad really wanted to go to a football game, and they gave visiting students free tickets. So we went, and I loved it. I realized some of the benefits of larger schools, like more student organizations and possible majors. On this visit, the important part was just the overall feel of the school. Since I came in with zero expectations, I was more relaxed and able to soak in the overall feeling of the school. I ended up loving it and applying, but didn’t attend due to too little financial aid. So if you are seriously a school like this, make sure you apply early to give yourself the best chance of aid.
Before you visit a school, know why you’re visiting. If your reason is to get out of classes for a day, that won’t be very helpful once you arrive at your visit. What do you want to get out of your time at the college? Do you want to know more about the academics? Or about student life? What the dorms are like? Ask any and all questions you have. There won’t be a better time to get answers than when you are actually talking face to face with someone whose job is to help you get acquainted with their school. Best of luck with your visits!