Summer brings great weather and the freedom to travel. For students thinking about college, the summer break also offers the chance to throw in a dash of college planning to make that summer trip both memorable,and useful for their college plan.
An increasing number of students drop out of college after their first year due to attending a school with a bad “college fit.” Taking the time to visit a campus can help students not only get a better picture of what college is, but give them the pieces to determine which schools fit best with their goals, personalities and needs.
Students taking campus visits get a chance to see potential colleges up close and personal. And while the number of students on campus might be lower in the summer, visitors still get a taste of college life and can answer some of the questions they might have about a school directly from the source.
Here are some tips for getting the most out of college visit:
Summer sessions mean that even though it’s summer, students are still on campus. The slower pace allows many tours the time for prospective students to talk with current students and get firsthand knowledge of what students like and dislike about the school. Admission counselors are also often available and can answer questions that will help when deciding when and how to apply for a particular school. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Even though it might not seem that way, admission counselors take note of those students who engage them in conversation and show an interest in the school. This can work in a student’s favor when it comes time for applications.
Be a Smart Consumer
Campus tours are, essentially, sales pitches, meant to highlight what is great about a school and encourage students to attend. Talking with students or exploring on campus independently after the tour will give students the views and viewpoints of the school that show a broader picture of what the campus offers. Like many things in life, it might turn out that everything isn’t picture-perfect when it comes to a student’s unique goals in a school.
Have a Plan
Football fields, coffee shops and large libraries might seem impressive when a prospective student walks on to a campus. The more campus visits a student takes, the more they will realize that these things are often common from campus to campus. What sets a campus apart for students are those elements that meet their individual needs and will help them find the perfect college fit.
Explore Your Interests
Researching a school ahead of time will help students find the professors or other teaching staff in areas of academic interest. A politely worded email ahead of the visit, reflecting a student’s respect for the faculty member’s time, can easily result in some great insider knowledge about studying at a school and what, in particular, makes that school’s department great.
Don’t Avoid the Tour
No campus tour ends with a sworn oath to apply to that school. Sometimes the best part of taking a campus tour is realizing that a school isn’t a great fit. Even for those schools that don’t make the cut after a tour, the experience can still benefit students as they explore other options as they learn about the differences between what schools have to offer. With a good plan and an open mind, students can return to school in the fall with a better understanding of what colleges offer for their future and a clearer idea of what is possible for their future.