Tips for College Visits

Today’s post is for the high school junior, the senior who has been putting it off, and the person who plans to go back to college. Tips for visit day! I have a few common tips that you have probably heard, but I also have some tips that you might not have heard of before. All tips are from my experience, and I hope you can learn a little something from them.

Tip #1: Learn about the school before you visit.
Take a look at the university’s website and look at what the college has to offer. You can also look online to see if the college you will be visiting has a video tour or something similar on their website. You don’t have to become an expert, but knowing a little bit will help you ask the right questions. ou don’t want to be asking a school without a music program about their choir or band.
Tip #2: See if you can speak with someone from a department of interest.
If at all possible, try and schedule an appointment with someone from the major or majors you are considering. Speaking with someone directly can give you a good idea of the program(s) you are looking at. You can also schedule an appointment with someone from a sport or activity of interest.
Tip #3: Get to the college early.
You never know what the parking will be like, especially during the week or on special visit days. Sometimes you might get a visitors permit, but you might also have to park a ways away in a metered lot or on the street. Getting there with plenty of time will help keep your stress levels low.
Tip #4: Write down any questions you have before and throughout your visit.
If you have any questions about the college before your visit, be sure to write them down so you don’t forget. If any questions come to mind while you are there, write them down if it is not an appropriate time to speak up and ask them. You can always ask the question later in the day or through email.
Tip #5: Walk around campus on your own.
Whether you do this on your first visit or you wait until you have narrowed down your top colleges, take a walk around campus without an official tour guide so that you can get a feel for where things are in a way that is different to the official tour. The tours are usually one route of campus, and it includes all of the buildings. If you take your own time to walk around, you can focus on the buildings and paths that are relevant to you.
Tip #6: See the town/city if you can.
After your visit, take a walk down a popular area close to campus. Do they have any of your favorite restaurants or shops? Look at the local stuff to see what the town is all about. If you are visiting a college in your area, check out what is next to campus, specifically.
Tip #7: Visit a variety of colleges.
If it’s possible, visit a few colleges of different a sizes, public vs private, and different specializations. This way you can get an idea as to what makes you comfortable and what you like best. Don’t just tick to visiting big public research universities or small liberal arts schools. Pick schools that are different, at least to start. Once you have settled on the factors most important to you, then you can start looking at different schools of your preferred size, location, price range, etc.
Tip #8: Visit during the school week.
Some universities offer Saturday visits, and while this can be tempting so you don’t have to miss school and your parents don’t have to miss work, you won’t get the full experience of what the campus looks and feels like during the week. Visit when classes are in session so that you can see how busy (or not) the campus is.
Tip #9: Don’t be afraid to visit schools more than once.
Once you have narrowed down your list of colleges, schedule another, visit at the ones of most interest to you. Some of the information will seem repetitive, but you will be able to get a different view of the school having learned more about it, and you will probably have a more ironed out list of questions.
Tip #10: Utalize specialized visit days.
Whether there is a day specific to freshman, transfer students (if you will be transferring), or a specific program, try to attend that event. Last spring, I went to the event that was scheduled specifically for incoming and prospective music students. I was transferring from another university, but that didn’t matter. On that day, I got to sit in on a couple of classes, meet my future studio teachers, and that was also another opportunity for me to explore campus and the surrounding area.
So those are my top tips for when you visit a college or university. For all of the high school juniors out there, this year can be stressful, but you will get through it. Take advantage of your winter break and other days off. For the seniors, you are almost there! I will soon be putting up a post of my tips for applying to college. I don’t have as many tips for that as for visiting, but I have a few. For those going back to school, congratulations on making the choice to continue your education!
Thanks for reading!

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