We all know the hassle of applying to different colleges. When we get lost in applications, options, and personal statements, we often forget the fun we can get from the process. One of the most enjoyable aspects of college applications can be college visits, where you get to explore different campuses and their classes.
But a college visit should not be a random one. It often requires extensive planning and intricate details. Making the most of your time during a visit is also essential. Hence, throughout this article, we will discuss how many college visits you should aim for, how to arrange one, and what a college visit entails.
What Happens in a College Visit?
The campus and its faculty members often arrange activities and interactions during a college visit. These are all geared toward helping students assess whether the college is the right fit for their academic and personal aspirations.
However, college tours for high school students differ in duration, content, and timing. For example, Harvard offers tours between 45-60 minutes long. On the other hand, the University of Rhode Island starts with a 30-minute presentation followed by a 1-hour tour.
But the content might also differ according to the institution. Here is a breakdown of what to expect on a college visit:
- Presentation. You might sit through a presentation that revolves around the institution’s history, academics, and role.
- Campus tour. This is often led by student guides or admissions staff. You explore vital facilities and get familiar with the layout of the campus.
- Academic insights. Your visit might include interactions with professors or academic advisors. This is your chance to discuss potential majors and course offerings.
- Information sessions. Sessions often provide an overview of the application process, admission requirements, financial aid options, and scholarships.
- Meals and dining. Not all colleges offer this, but it allows you to taste the campus cuisine and observe student interactions.
- Connecting with current students. Sometimes, you get the chance to have informal interactions with current students, whether it is during the tour or in common areas.
How Many Colleges Should You Visit?
So, how many college visits should you do? The ideal number does not exist. However, a solid rule of thumb aims for about 5 to 8 colleges. This provides you with an outstanding balance. Moreover, this range allows you to explore different options without getting overwhelmed.
However, you should prioritize colleges that match your preferences, have strong programs, and align with your goals. Remember that quality over quantity matters the most. Hence, focus on making meaningful visits to colleges that interest you and fit your criteria.
Moreover, if you feel distance and finances are a problem, you might consider virtual tours. Places such as Harvard and Oxford allow you to visit their campus from afar and learn about the university.
So, how many college tours should you go on? The exact answer will depend on your considerations. However, you should always aim for quality over quantity, so a number between 5 to 8 visits sounds ideal!
How to Arrange a College Visit?
Arranging a college visit requires an extensive process. Hence, you can refer to our college visit checklist to ensure you have all the steps you need:
1. Research colleges. Start by looking for colleges you are interested in. You should consider location, campus size, and academic programs. Then, create a shortlist of colleges that you want to check.
2. Check visit options. Visit the college’s website and search for campus tours. You can often find a calendar with available slots to register for, such as the one available on Brown University’s website. Other universities, such as the University of London, offer a complete tour online.
3. Plan your dates and book appointments. Determine when you want to visit and book your slot. You always need to check if you require reservations in advance for other options, such as meetings with professors or information sessions.
4. Arrange for travel. Now is the time you might want to book transportation and accommodation.
5. Prepare your questions. You do not want to go on any college tour without preparation. Hence, ensure you have a complete list of questions about programs, student life, campus resources, and anything else that resonates with you.
Why is it Important to Visit Colleges Before Applying?
Not many students actually visit colleges as part of their application process. Only about 35% of prospective students opt for a visit or tour. However, this section will discuss the importance of considering and going to visit a college before applying. Below are the reasons why you should visit one:
1. Visiting allows you to experience things firsthand. You can get a sense of the student body, interactions, and overall vibe of the campus. This helps you envision whether you see yourself thriving in such an environment.
2. By visiting, you can assess whether the college aligns with your academic and personal interests, goals, and values. You’ll be better equipped to determine if it fits your aspirations well.
3. Checking out things in person provides you with a more unique insight. You can check the classes, labs, libraries, dorms, athletic facilities, and more.
4. You have the opportunity to meet professors who might be teaching you soon. Moreover, you can meet students who are studying the same major you aim to pursue and discuss items and questions with them.
5. Asking questions online differs from asking them face-to-face. Now, visiting the campus gives you the unique opportunity to meet people and ask them whatever you want. It allows you to clarify questions with like-minded and expert people.
Part of every college application is researching items online. However, visiting the campus allows you to validate the online information that you read about. You can confirm whether the campus matches the images, descriptions, and items you discovered online.
What to Consider Before Visiting a College: 5 Things
Before visiting the college, there are several things to consider. These allow you to gather relevant information before you embark into the unknown. Here is the top vital thing to consider:
1. Timing. When to start college visit? The best time, according to College Board, is late summer and early September. When do college visits end? Typically mid-August, around the time when the fall semester starts. Hence, make sure you consider those factors before planning the visit.
2. Establish a budget for your visit. If you plan to visit a college further away from your house, make sure you set a budget for your visit.
3. Ask about study abroad programs. There is no better time to explore your options than colleges. Explore whether the college has study abroad opportunities, partnerships, and the ease of transferring credits.
4. Make sure you have your questions prepared. Make sure you ask about five main aspects. Those are facilities, alum support, classroom experience, admission, and financial aid, and lastly, student life.
5. Clubs and extracurriculars. Dive deeper into the clubs and extracurriculars available in the college. Check what is tailored towards your interests. Are you interested in LGBTQ+? Maybe you want a sustainability initiative or arts and cultures? Ensure you know all about those during your visit and be prepared to ask questions about them.
Wrapping Things Up: How Many College Visits Should You Do?
In summary, college visits are a stimulating part of the application journey, offering insights beyond paperwork. This article has explored the significance of visits, suggested 5 to 8 visits for balance, and detailed arranging visits strategically. Visits often encapsulate presentations, tours, academic insights, and connections with students and faculty.
You should consider specifics, like timing and study abroad opportunities, that will enhance the visit’s value. College visits are an investment in informed decisions. Each visit offers a tangible experience that surpasses virtual exploration. So, approach visits with curiosity and purpose as you envision your educational path.