Campus Visit Tips
Your campus visit will be a big factor in helping choose the best college or university for you. The following tips will help you get the most out of your campus visits.
Select several colleges to visit. Start visiting the campuses of your top college choices as you narrow down your selection. You will be less overwhelmed if you start making initial visits in your junior year, but keep in mind that you may want to schedule a second campus visit during your senior year to the colleges still on your list.
Be sure to call the college in advance to schedule your visit. Ask if students will be on campus and if classes will be in session during your visit. (It is best to visit the campus when there is activity. Campuses tend to be bleak during exam time and summer or holiday breaks.) This is also the appropriate time to inquire about the possibility of sitting in on a class; meeting with a faculty member, coach or other advisor; or scheduling an appointment with someone in the student financial services office.
When relevant, decide between a personalized campus visit or attending a large group visit event. Many colleges offer both personalized campus visit appointments and larger group visit events. Think about which type of visit best suits your purpose and schedule accordingly. For those colleges you end up visiting twice, you may want to schedule one of each kind if it’s offered and works with your schedule.
Prepare a list of questions to ask during your visit. If you have a student tour guide, he or she will be an especially useful source of information. However, save the questions about admission criteria, placement statistics and financial plans for an admission counselor.
Allow at least half a day per campus visit. You don’t want to be rushed. Plus, there will be plenty to fill the time between the campus tour and appointment(s) with advisors for admissions, student finances, and/or academics.
Be an educated consumer. “Kick the tires” and ask tough questions. After the campus tour, roam around the campus on your own. Spend time with students; ask directions (It’s a great way to get into conversations and talk to more than one student). Go to the library, eat at the dining hall, ask a student to show you their dorm room (dorms are rarely included on the tour). Scan student newspapers and bulletin boards, which can be revealing about campus culture and the level of extracurricular activity.
Arrange an overnight visit if you plan to live on campus. If you’re planning on living in the dorm, one of the best ways to determine whether a campus offers the “right fit” is by arranging an overnight visit. This is a great way for you to really get a good picture of what campus life is really like.
Take notes. After you’ve visited a bunch of campuses, you may not remember the unique features of each one. After each campus visit, jot down a few notes about your initial impression, what you liked, and any concerns that came up. When all of your campus visits are over, you will be able to review your notes and compare your options more objectively with a clear memory.
Ask about visit reimbursement or other arrangements. Some colleges will pay part of your trip expenses or your hotel stay, as well as treat you to meals in the college dining facilities. Ask about the details of these offers ahead of time so you can plan accordingly. Be sure your visit is scheduled directly with the school so you qualify for any related accommodations or reimbursements.
Have you scheduled your campus visit(s) yet? Browse the Campus Visit Guide for information on visiting Adventist colleges and universities, or look at the College Fairs schedule to see if and when there is one near you.