Tag college visits

Making a decision without making a visit

Although many schools have postponed their enrollment deadlines, some are sticking to May 1 which is right around the corner.  You may still be weighing your enrollment options.  With college visits off the table, the choice may seem more difficult than ever.    How do you make a final decision without making a visit?     

What’s in a visit
College visits let you “see yourself on the campus.”  But what does this mean?   Usually this is code for “how do you feel about the school?”  or “what does your gut tell you?”.  Walking around campus on a sunny day elicits a feeling.  But feelings are more often about people rather than places.  That’s why counselors tell you not to visit on a holiday or a Sunday when there are often less people around.  The campus doesn’t “feel” right without people.   

So – can you still evoke that same feeling without walking around?  Absolutely!  The campus may be closed but you can still connect with the same people.  Contact the admissions office to ask about your options – ask if you can talk with a student ambassador.  If possible, also talk with an advisor or professor in the academic area that interests you.  Check with your college counselor to find out if they know current students or alums from your high school or local community.  Talking with people – hearing their enthusiasm for the campus (or lack of) – will develop your intuition about a school.      

Other things to consider 
Going to college is a family affair.  Involve your parents and take their opinions to heart.  Together as a family, think back to what was most important when making your original list of colleges (things like – academics, location, size, activities).    

Four aspects of “best fit”

  1. Academic: Does the college offer your major or field of study?  Are there a variety of options if you are undecided?  What will your class sizes be?  What academic support systems are in place if you need help?   
  2. Financial: Is it affordable, both for you and your family?  Have you been offered scholarships or grants, or will you need loans to cover the cost?  Do a cost comparison to see which colleges offer you the best financial aid.   
  3. Social: Harlan Cohen, author of “The Naked Roommate” talks about the importance of identifying PEOPLE and PLACES you will feel comfortable with on campus (see Harlan’s webinar, 7 Big Mistakes HS Seniors Make When Picking a College).  Who will your people and places be?   
  4. Physical: Take an online tour.  Review the campus website for other virtual options – 3D or VR experiences can give you a great perspective of the physical campus.  And don’t forget to ask about the weather and the surrounding area.    

Take Action 
Review your pro and con lists but give credence to your gut feeling as well.  As with any big choice, it should be made with your brain and your heart.  And once you make your enrollment decision, look forward with enthusiasm – don’t second guess yourself.  The college experience is what you make it.  Your attitude and ambition will determine your success as much as the college you select.   


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Top Tips for Admitted Student College Visits

admitted student visit - cropped - with white background

Receiving your letter or email of admission is a time for celebration!  What’s your next step? Many colleges will be inviting you to visit the campus as an admitted student. 

These visits can be: 

  • A designated day event on campus 
  • A designated weekend or overnight event on campus 
  • A designated window of time in which to visit  
  • A scholarship competition 
  • An orientation 

We have tips for making the most of these visits. 

Preparing for the visit 

  • Review your priorities for a good college fit.  As discussed in the blog What is College Fit, fit includes 4 components; academic, social, emotional and physical.  
  • Brush up on the details.  Refresh your knowledge about the school’s size, academic options, and other details that interest you.  Your visit will be more meaningful if you have the basics down. 
  • Explore advising options for your major.  When do you start advising? 
  • Review housing options.  Where would you live? 
  • Explore activities offered.  What appeals to you? 

On Campus 

Prepare a list of questions to ask during your admitted student visit.  Plan a visit when the college is in session.  You need to see the college from the perspective of a student.  As a part of the visit, see if you can make the following appointments: 

  1. Academic Advising.  If possible, meet with an academic advisor in your area of study.  Learn more about the courses and professors in your selected field of study. 
  2. Tour housing/dorm options.  Where will you live as a freshman? 
  3. Meet with a financial aid advisor.  What is your financial aid package?  Do your parents have questions that need answered? 

 As you visit the campus, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Would I fit in academically here? 
  • Would I fit in socially here? 
  • Do I feel comfortable with the physical location? 

After Your Visit 

  • Send a thank you for the visit. 
  • Record your thoughts as soon as possible.   

Take Action

Make plans now to visit colleges before May 1.  Use 3-day weekends, breaks, or anytime you have available to visit the colleges to which you have been admitted. 

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Making the Most of Your College Visits

The College Visit 

Depending on your time and interest level, plan one of the following types of college visits: 

Basic Visit 

  1. Attend an information session.  Ask questions about admissions, financial aid, choice of majors.  IMPORTANT: Get a business card from an admissions person. 
  2. Do a college and dorm tour.  What does the campus look like?  Where do freshman live? What are the housing options? 
  3. Eat a meal on campus.  Go to the dining hall or coffee shop and eat.  Introduce yourself to some students and ask questions.  You will be surprised at how much they want to share about the college. 

Extended Visit 

In addition to the basic visit schedule – an information session, a campus tour, and a meal on campus – ask if you can add the following appointments at the schools that you are most interested in:  

  1. Meet individually with an admissions counselor.  Ask more about special programs, what the college has to offer, and your admissions expectations.  IMPORTANT: Get a business card from an admissions person. 
  2. Meet with a financial aid advisor.  What types of financial aid and/or merit scholarships do they offer?  What questions do your parents have that need answered? 
  3. Meet with an academic advisor in the field of study that interests you.  Learn more about the courses and professors in your selected field of study. 
  4. Visit a class.  Before your visit, get permission to sit in on a class.  This gives you a feel for what college will be like, and what it would feel like to be a student there.

Overnight Visit 

Some colleges offer prospective students the chance to spend the night on campus to learn more about the school.  An overnight visit will provide great insight into student life on campus.  These visits are usually organized by the college, and include college tours, classes on campus, and the chance to stay in a college dorm with a college student host. 

Check with your counselor for a list of colleges that offer overnight stays. Save overnight visits for your top college choices. 

On Your Visit 

As you do the college tour of the campus, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Would fit in academically here? 
  • Would I fit in socially here? 
  • Do I feel comfortable with the physical location? 

Follow up after your visit 

  • Send a thank you email to the admissions representative that conducted the information session or that you met with individually. 
  • Record your visit using the Discuss Tab – or download our college visit form.  Pros/Cons can be listed on the Decisions Tab under Decision Details. 
  • Add visits as milestones or tasks.  Use college profiles to learn about a school.

Take Action 

Make plans now to visit colleges on your list.  Enjoy your visits and find out which school fits you best!

  

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Road Trip: Preparing for Spring Break College Visits

continents

Using your spring break to visit colleges is a great idea, but be aware of spring break schedules for the colleges you wish to visit. It’s best to see a college when students are on campus. Here are a few tips to prepare for your spring college visits. 

  • Create a College Visit Itinerary. Using a map, look at college locations and decide on an itinerary that fits within your given time.  Don’t worry if you can’t see all of the colleges on your list. Focus on some of your top choices and then plan other school visits that are within the same geographic area. 
  • Register for college visits online.  Once you have a list of colleges to visit, register for campus tours online with the admissions office.  Resist the urge to plan “drive through” visits.  An official campus tour takes more time, but gives you a better feel for the college/campus. And don’t plan too many visits in a day –  one or two per day is best. 
  • Review your priorities for a good college fit. As discussed in the blog  What is College Fit, fit includes 4 components; academic, social, emotional and physical.  
  • Learn the basics.  Look up the school’s size, majors offered, and other details that interest you. Your visit will be more meaningful when you know the basics.
  • Create a List of Questions. Write down your Top 10 Questions for each college visit.  Focus on what you would study and who would you study with. 

Take Action 

Use GuidedPath to find links to college admission offices to schedule visits. Take a virtual tour of a college by viewing YouVisit videos from the “Tours” tab. 

Review the details on the colleges by clicking on the “Info” and “FISKE” tabs.  Watch for next week’s email: How to make the most of your college visits.  


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What color do you want your campus to be?

blue-143734_1280

As you are researching colleges, you will hear comments about how one campus is “very liberal” or another is “conservative”, or another is “middle of the road”.  These are references to the political leanings of a college campus.  Is it red (conservative), blue (liberal), or somewhere in between?  How do you know? 

Here are some tips for exploring the political atmosphere on a college campus: 

  1. Check out the list of college clubs.  What kinds of clubs are available? 
  2. Look at the campus newspaper or campus news sites online?  What are the issues?  Are the issues balanced, or slanted more toward a liberal or conservative viewpoint? 
  3. Review the mission statement.  Does the college have core beliefs that favor one political perspective over another?  
  4. Check the school’s social media.  What is the Twitter and Facebook chatter covering? 
  5. What events are popular on campus?  Where do students like to gather? 

Many colleges encourage a balanced political dialogue.  After researching the school, do you feel you would fit in?  Would it meet your needs to find a “liberal”, “conservative” or “middle of the road” school? 

Take Action 

Research colleges in GuidedPath using Guided Search.  Review the Social experience.  Add your thoughts into the Discuss tab for each college you research. 

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Top Tips for Admitted Student College Visits

admitted student visit - cropped - with white background

Receiving your letter or email of admission is a time for celebration!  What’s your next step? Many colleges will be inviting you to visit the campus as an admitted student. 

These visits can be: 

  • A designated day event on campus 
  • A designated weekend or overnight event on campus 
  • A designated window of time in which to visit  
  • A scholarship competition 
  • An orientation 

We have tips for making the most of these visits. 

Preparing for the visit 

  • Review your priorities for a good college fit.  As discussed in the blog What is College Fit, fit includes 4 components; academic, social, emotional and physical.  
  • Brush up on the details.  Refresh your knowledge about the school’s size, academic options, and other details that interest you.  Your visit will be more meaningful if you have the basics down. 
  • Explore advising options for your major.  When do you start advising? 
  • Review housing options.  Where would you live? 
  • Explore activities offered.  What appeals to you? 

On Campus 

Prepare a list of questions to ask during your admitted student visit.  Plan a visit when the college is in session.  You need to see the college from the perspective of a student.  As a part of the visit, see if you can make the following appointments: 

  1. Academic Advising.  If possible, meet with an academic advisor in your area of study.  Learn more about the courses and professors in your selected field of study. 
  2. Tour housing/dorm options.  Where will you live as a freshman? 
  3. Meet with a financial aid advisor.  What is your financial aid package?  Do your parents have questions that need answered? 

 

As you visit the campus, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Would I fit in academically here? 
  • Would I fit in socially here? 
  • Do I feel comfortable with the physical location? 

 

Learn from Kaetlyn 

Kaetlyn writes about her college visits and shares her tips for creating the best visit experience. 

 

After Your Visit 

  • Send a thank you for the visit. 
  • Record your thoughts as soon as possible.   

Take Action
Make plans now to visit colleges before May 1.  Use 3-day weekends, breaks, or anytime you have available to visit the colleges to which you have been admitted. 

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