College Visit: 8 Things You Must Do

It’s college visit season.

Juniors are fanning out to visit schools and seniors are on the go too as they visit colleges for the last time before making their final decisions.

Too many teenagers and their families zip through college tours. It seems to become  a contest of seeing how many colleges they can tour in the shortest period of time.

If you will be visiting colleges soon, here is my biggest piece of advice:  SLOW DOWN.

Here are 8 things you should do:

Linger. You’ll absorb more if you aren’t rushed.

Eat at the cafeteria. It’s a great place to observe students.

Try to meet with a professor. Especially at smaller colleges, you will be spending a lot of time with a core group of profs in your major. If you don’t like one or two, you could be in for a tough four years.

Research before the college visit. Read the materials you’ve accumulated from the school. Even better, spend time on the college’s academic department web pages.

Stop a few students on campus and ask these 5 questions:

  • What do you like best about your college?
  • What do you like least about your college?
  • What made you choose this college?
  • If you could change anything about this college, what would it be?
  • What is your opinion of your professors and the academics?

Sit in on a class. Do the students seem engaged? Is there much interaction with the professor? If the class is in a lecture hall, how common are lecture-style classes on this campus?

Spend the night. Often only high school seniors are allowed this option, but it’s definitely worth asking.

Take notes. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll forget what you saw during a college visit if you don’t scribble down your observations soon after the visit is over.

You can learn more about the best way to visit a college by reading my past posts:

College Visit: Top 7 Things You Must Do

College Visit: 31 Questions You Need to Ask

Asking Questions on a College Tour

Don’t Skip the College Tour

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes a college blog for CBSMoneyWatch. Follow her on Twitter.

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