The Importance of Visiting Colleges

Let’s say you applied to several colleges. Some applications you’re really serious about and others you just applied to see if you could get in or just for the heck of it.

Well, you got into all of them. You’ve done all your research with what they offer and everything. But now it’s time to visit them. And you need to actually go to them.

Information online, guidance counselors, presentations from college representatives, and what friends say can only do so much with getting to know a college. Make the effort to see how the campus is ran at all the colleges before you make a final decision.

I know this could be difficult if one of the colleges you are interested in is across the country. But if being that far away from home is something that you are okay with, then I recommend traveling there to realize how far it really is.

Here’s my story

When I applied to colleges, I expected my final decision to be somewhere in Illinois, where I’m from originally. I didn’t know much about the University of Iowa. But I applied to it to see what would happen.

My first visit to a college was to the college I truly thought I was going to end up at. While I was there, I didn’t get a vibe that I thought I should have when going to college. When you go to a campus, you should feel that excitement building as you continue to tour the area. I didn’t have that spark I wanted. I felt like everything was over for me because I didn’t think I would be interested in the other colleges I was accepted to.

It was my mother that insisted we go visit the campus in Iowa. I wasn’t happy about going because I thought I would most definitely not be interested in anything there because it didn’t catch my attention before.

I am so grateful that I actually went to visit the University of Iowa because it’s where I am today. I loved the atmosphere of the old buildings next to each other and the small city was right across the street. I saw students scurry to classes as I heard loud church bells ring at every hour when class let out.

That was my ideal atmosphere for a college.

Don’t settle for any campus. You will be attending this place for four years. Fall in love with it. Enjoy the scenery and the atmosphere it offers because no two colleges are exactly alike.

Of course there are two different ways you can visit a college.

  • Campus Tours

Each college has specific dates set throughout the year that are dedicated for incoming students. At my university, they are called “Hawkeye Visit Days.” These days at my school are usually on Fridays and I will see a bunch of seniors in high school with their parents carrying around these big yellow folders while following a guide.

I recommend going to these when your list of colleges have been narrowed down to only a few. These take time because someone tours you around campus and you really get the feeling of how it would be if you were to go to school there.

Sometimes the guide will take a group into a lecture room during class hours. You can experience the education first-hand. You will also have a lunch break where you can eat in the dining halls and see how eating will be like every day.

These are very important to do because the guide is a student as well. You can ask them any questions you have about that specific college or school in general.

  • Quick Visits

If you have a long list of colleges you have been accepted to and can’t narrow it down, take your own tour around the campus. There is no need to take up a whole day each week to do the full visit day.

Depending on where the campus is located, take a quick visit there to get the general idea of what the college scene is like. It’ll be very easy to pick up what you do and don’t like. For me, I wasn’t into a modern school. I liked the enclosed feeling, the old buildings, and lots of trees.

These quick visits can include a stroll through the campus, buildings, the town, and a bite to eat at one of the town’s most popular restaurants.

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Gina Stolzman

Gina Stolzman

Gina Stolzman is a senior at University of Iowa pursuing degrees in Journalism and English. Having a passion for food, she loves cooking and visiting restaurants. Besides cooking, you’ll find her reading, catching up on TV shows, or hanging out with friends and family. She is an enthusiastic Chicago fan. She devotes herself to “da” Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and White Sox.