Key Components To A Successful College Visit

Whether it is your first visit or your tenth, the time you spend on college campuses before your freshman year is crucial. Any time you venture into a new environment, especially one that could be your home for the next four years, it is important to utilize every resource to make sure you are getting the information you need and want.

When you are on an official tour, pay attention to what your guide or advisor is saying. If you are doing a general campus tour, chances are you will not be the only student. Do not be afraid to make your way to the head of the group. You will hear everything your guide says and be in an ample position to ask questions.

Academics are important, but do not forget to ask about life on campus. If your guide is a current student, ask them about the fun places to hang out on campus and where the best libraries to study are. It may seem appealing to just hang back, take everything in and try to figure out things for yourself, but student tour guides understand how you are feeling (they were freshman once too!) and are more than willing to answer any questions you have. If they are in this position, chances are they really love the university and will give their honest opinion on the best dorms and food venues.

One of the things I regret not doing on my college tours was visiting the building where my major was housed. Campus is where you play, but this building will be where you work; interacting with professors, giving presentations, studying for and taking exams. Take note of important locations like the advising office, lecture halls and the nearest coffee shop. If you stumble across the head of the department’s office, do not be afraid to stop in and introduce yourself. Talk to students in the building and ask what their favorite classes are and why they enjoy the major.

Another place you will be spending a lot of time is the dorms. On general tours, you are often brought through a model dorm room that looks a lot cleaner and bigger than what an actual room looks like. Make time to go and visit one of the dorms on your own. You might have to wait around for someone to let you in ( I stood outside of a dorm for half an hour on one of my tours) but it is definitely worth it. Students are more than happy to let you in to see their room and answer any questions you have about dorm life.

Going off to college is a big step, and it makes you feel very independent and grown up, like you are ready to take on anything the world throws at you. But that does not mean you should go on college visits by yourself. Bringing your mom or dad (or both!) gives you a person to express and discuss your concerns with or share in your excitement. Parents know you better than anyone else and they are just the support you need to make a big decision like choosing a college. Plus they will want to see where you are thinking about spending the next four years of your life. Make sure to locate a few hotels for visits!

The most important thing to remember about college visits is they are meant to help you make a final decision. Do not be afraid to ask a hundred questions, sit in on a class or plan two or three visits. The more you know, the easier it will be to decide which college is right for you.

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Caitlin Furin

Caitlin Furin

Caitlin Furin is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in journalism and strategic communication. With an interest in social media, she can often be found exploring the Facebook walls, Twitter feeds and Pinterest profiles of big brands. Her laptop and iPhone never leave her side. Outside of school and work, Caitlin can be found enjoying a good TV show or two and spending time with her friends and family.
Caitlin Furin

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