The Ultimate College Visit

miranda davis

College is one of the most important decisions that high school students make. Which school to go to, or even to go at all are some of the many choices students have to make before the time they graduate. Visiting colleges, or doing college tours is part of the process for narrowing down  those schools and making that final decision.

A college visit can consist of many different activities. It can be a anything from a walking tour of campus with a students to an overnight in the dorms or sitting in on a class. There are many options for types of visits from a private tour to “Junior days” or “Senior days” offered by the university. Those who are interested in pursuing a certain activity in college (Art, music, sports… etc.) will need to schedule an audition or a tryout. Contacting the specific department before a visit can be extremely helpful.

“I went on a day specifically designed for [Arts and music], so they had the general tours, then they had one specifically for that department,” senior Adriane Dick said.

Before the Visit

There are several things every students should do to prepare for college visits. Formulate a list of qualities that you want your future school to have. Narrow down your list of schools by doing research and try to visit a majority of your top schools.

“I read 40 colleges that change lives early last year, and decided which schools were good, then we planned visits based on that list, “ senior Nora Elbayoumy

Another important step before visiting colleges is to make a list of questions to ask guides, professors and current students.

“Try to ask the same questions and get the same information at each school you visit so you’ll have good comparison data,” said Lauren Erickson, assistant director of communications at University of Kansas admissions.

Make sure to also be aware of the culture of a school before a visit. Having prior knowledge about a school can save time during question and answer portions of the visit and give more of a sense of what life is like on campus.

“Review the school’s website or brochures you’ve received in the mail. Watch videos on YouTube, check out the school’s Facebook page, do whatever you can to immerse yourself in the school before you even get there,” Erickson said.

During the Visit

Spring of junior year or beginning of senior year is a good time to start visiting colleges.  While there be sure to ask several questions that you have thought of previously to have answered by current students and/or staff. An option for getting questions answered is a student forum, but they are not available at every campus.

“The student forum, [is] where a couple students go in a room with you and talk to you about student life, and parents aren’t allowed in, so you can ask all the questions you actually want to know the answer to,” senior Liza Farr said.

Other options for visits include overnight stays, junior days, senior days and daytime campus tours. Make sure to check and to visit with professors and sit in on classes in your desired major. Getting a comprehensive look at what life is like at a college is the point of a visit, so students should try and see as much as possible to help make the decision.

Decision Time

One of the most important things about college tours is to do lots of them. Go to enough schools to be well informed about future possibilities. The more information that is collected, the more informed a decision can be.

“See a classroom, talk with current students, and meet with anyone you might be interested in because picking the right college happens ideally only once, so try to experience everything the institution has to offer,” said Cole Galyon, Kansas State University Admissions Representative.

“Preparing for college is one of those ‘life steps’ and it’s important to make sure that you’re going to a university that is right for you,” Gaylon said. “Relax and have fun. College visits should be a fun and enjoyable experience.”