A college visit should comprise more than a leisurely walk around campus. Sure, you want to get a feel for the place, but an appointment with the college admissions staff is crucial for understanding the ins and outs of the university.
Before Your Meeting
It’s best to plan the meeting for the fall of your senior year (or even your junior year). In addition to a group info session and tour, call ahead to schedule an individual appointment with a college admissions counselor. If possible, arrange to visit classes, sample the food, and stay overnight in a dorm.
Before your visit, check out the college’s Web site; it’ll familiarize you with the school and help you form intelligent questions for your meeting.
What to Bring
Take along your high school transcript and SAT/ACT scores. Both you and your parents should also come equipped with questions about the school. Have an idea of what you want, and weigh the staff’s answers against your criteria.
You should ask:
- What are the admission requirements?
- If I’m wait-listed, is there anything I can do to increase my chances of acceptance?
- How can I apply for financial aid, scholarships, and work-study?
- What is the orientation process?
- Where can I learn more about the honors program?
- Which academic programs are most popular or most distinguished?
- Can I test out of any required courses?
- How many students will be in my first-year classes?
- Are first-year students required to live on campus and have a meal plan?
- What extracurricular activities are offered?
- What study-abroad programs exist?
Your parents should ask:
- How much is tuition?
- What is an estimated student budget for the academic year?
- How do I add money to my child’s university debit account?
- Do full-time professors or graduate assistants teach first-year courses?
- What are recent graduates doing now?
- What support systems are in place for students with disabilities, minorities, and others with special concerns?
- How is campus safety ensured?
- What services does the health center provide?
If an in-person meeting isn’t feasible, check the college’s Web site for the name of a regional representative. This person might be able to meet you in your neighborhood to discuss your concerns. Another option is to correspond with a college admissions counselor via e-mail.