The Importance of The College Visit
It’s finally summer, which means campus visit time for a lot of you. The campus visit is a huge piece to the college admission process and can be very influential for a number of reasons. A campus visit is about so much more than seeing the physical grounds of a school. It’s an opportunity to learn about the mission of the college, better understand what they value and how they educate their students. You’ll learn a lot about a school by taking a tour and participating in an info session. And ultimately, campus visits will help you solidify your college list (and eventually pick the school you want to attend). Don’t delay your visits. Take advantage of the summer and do your best to get on to the campuses you plan to pursue. Here are some of my top reasons for visiting schools now, rather than later:
To Help You Narrow Your Options – For those of you uncertain about what you want in a college, a campus visit is a perfect way to begin prioritizing what you do and do not want in a university. Each college has its own personality. As you get to know colleges and experience their campuses, you’ll begin to identify the things that you like and dislike. A college visit is a great way to begin the process of prioritizing your preferences. Ask yourself, “could I live here for four years?” Picture yourself on campus, interacting with the students you meet and sitting in the classrooms you observe. Take notes on your visits, and pretty soon you’ll begin to see a pattern of your preferences. The best way to figure out what you want in a campus is to visit!
To Demonstrate Your Interest – “Demonstrated Interest” is a term used by colleges to describe actions by a student that gauge how much he/she wants to attend their college. Every contact action by a student is tracked by the college to summarize the student expressing to the college “how much I love you” (Source: IECA) Colleges want to know that you are serious about their school and genuinely interested in what they have to offer. There are many ways to express your interest in a college, but few are better than a campus visit. Many colleges consider demonstrated interest in the selection process, but almost all colleges want to be sure you understand the personality of their campus before you apply. A campus visit gives you the opportunity to say to a college, “Hey! I’m interested in you and made it a priority to see your campus before I applied! I like what I saw and know exactly what I’m applying for!”
To Help You Find Your “Fit” – A college visit should be an evaluation. It’s a time to determine whether or not the college offers what you are looking for in a university. If you still aren’t sure what you want in a college, start with a simple list of things you would have in a “perfect college.” Use these to create a list of things that are most important to you in a college experience. As you see campuses, compare them to one another and to your list of priorities. Finding your priorities is a process and takes time; just one more reason to visit before you apply. And remember, applying to a college is about so much more than “can I get in?” It’s about finding a fit – a place where you feel comfortable and know you belong.
To Help You Write Your College Essays – I can’t tell you how much easier it will be to write your college essays if you have visited the campuses to which you will apply. If you can speak, from experience, to the most appealing aspects of each college, (and I mean beyond the beautiful campus, the small class sizes, caring faculty, and abundance of activities on campus), you’ll have a winning “Why Do You Want To Attend Our College” essay. Consider using your college visits to pick out distinctive things you appreciate about each campus, and then use those in your admission essays. A genuine application and essay is always better than a forced one.
For more information on successful college visits, developing a college list, or choosing a school that’s right for you, contact Amberley at firstname.lastname@example.org.