How to maximize your college visit experience

Visiting a college campus is more than just taking a stroll across the quad. The one-to-two-hour first impression of a college campus influences one of the biggest decisions of your life.

College is not only a time to expand your knowledge, it’s a chance to experience and explore a new environment. No matter how much information is accessible online, the only way to get the real picture of a college campus is to visit it for yourself.

Here are a few ways to maximize your college visit experience:

Plan Early

Senior year is hectic. Schedules fill up quickly with school, social life, and work, so, often there’s less time to dedicate to visiting multiple campuses. Try to begin research prior to senior year to ease the stress. A list of 3-5 colleges is plenty to focus on when planning visits.

Schedule Formal Visits

While self-guided tours are convenient, you may not get the full effect or all the information you need. Contact the Office of Admission by visiting the college’s website, sending an email, or calling. This will allow you to properly prepare for your visit ahead of time. Also, by speaking with someone directly, it may be possible to shadow a current student, talk with a professor, gather financial aid information, or meet with a coach.

Explore the Community Surrounding Campus

In some cities, a college may be the main attraction. But that’s not always the case. Don’t miss out on spending time in the surrounding community to learn more about its size, safety, off-campus housing and employment options, and if the area fits your lifestyle. Grab lunch at a local restaurant or go for a walk at a nearby park!

Take Notes and Ask Questions

Many college campus tours are led by current students. Given their firsthand experience as a student, it’s likely they will have opinions to share on academic programs, student facilities, dining services, campus life, and more. Take note of what these students have to say and be sure to ask follow up questions!

Stay Connected and Share Your Experiences

Keep up with campus news and other resources by following social media and reading articles. This is not only a great way to get a sense of what’s buzzing on the college’s scene, but it is also a way to connect with other prospective students, current students, alumni, and school officials.

Jazmin Rainey is Manager of Admission Events and Communication in the Office of Admission at Oglethorpe University.

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