The Top 10 Ways to Get the Most out of Your College Visits

college visitOut to discover the college of your dreams this summer?  Whether you are flying out to visit a few schools or taking a cross country road trip to visit colleges around the country, we have the Top 10 things you need to do to make the most of your college visits.

1. Have a plan! Sounds simple enough, right? You want to make sure you map out each visit to maximize your time there. What do you hope to accomplish while on your visit? What do you want to see? Set goals, think of what you want to know about the colleges you are visiting, and write it all down. Having a plan in place will make you feel less overwhelmed once you set foot on campus.

2. Connect with students you may know who attend the colleges you are visiting. Whether you chat with them before you go or plan to meet with them on campus (some may be taking summer classes!) you will want to get the perspective of a current student.  What do they like about the school? What is student life on campus like? What are some challenges they may have faced there?

3. Explore academic departments. You’ll want to see what majors and areas of study colleges have to offer. Do they meet your needs? Is the area you want to study a strong department at the colleges you are visiting? How big are the classes and how are they structured? Classes can range from very small discussion groups to very large lecture courses and everything in between. This is a great thing to discover while you are on your college visits.

4. Visit the student union. This is where you may be spending a lot of your time. From buying books here, to eating, studying, and hanging out with your friends – this is an important building for you to check out when you get on campus.

5. Check out the student cafeteria. OK, we are not saying you need to eat here! Although, if you can that may be a good idea. You’ll want to know if that meal plan is worth it or not, and what college dorm food is really like. If nothing else, it will make you appreciate your mom’s home cooked meals that you may have complained about your entire childhood!

6. Pick up a copy of the student paper. This is a great way to learn about what is happening on campus. From academics, to student groups, to events – this will have all the info you need to feel in the know.

7. Document your visit. Take pictures of what you like – and don’t like – while you are on campus. Having visuals can help you remember your visit more vividly after you are home.

8. Check out the libraries and computer labs. You will likely be spending a lot of your time in these two places so why not get a feel for what it may be like to pull an all-nighter studying for your first semester finals or writing that paper at 2am.

9. Rough it in the dorms! Well, you won’t exactly be roughing it…If you can, arrange to stay in the dorms, or, at the very least, make sure to visit the dorms. You’ll want to see where and how you may be living come freshman year.

10. Make a Pro/Con List.  Make sure to write down at least 3 positives and 3 negatives before you leave campus. At the end of all your visits, it may be difficult to remember the differences between all of them.

Happy Trails!

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Komel Caruso

About the Author: Komel Caruso

Komel Caruso is the Marketing Manager for PreCollege Programs at Kaplan Test Prep. A die-hard Michigan Wolverines fan, Komel graduated from the University of Michigan in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. During her eight years at Kaplan Test Prep, Komel has had the opportunity to work on several different teams, including PreCollege Marketing, Business Development, and Premier Tutoring. During her time away from Kaplan Test Prep, Komel earned her Masters of Science in Marketing from NYU and worked as a consultant for Disney, spearheading the strategy and execution of their email campaigns for the Disney Movie Rewards Program. When not advising students and parents on standardized tests and the college admissions process, Komel enjoys spending time with her family and travelling.

  • Erin Lorraine Clay

    I’m glad you have an article focusing on the college visit. I always stress to students the importance of seeing a college in person. The college may look good on paper, and even have all the aspects you are looking for, but it’s very important to go there and get to know the atmosphere. See if you can picture yourself as a part of this community for the next four years. Talking to current students is especially good advice.

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