THE ultimate guide for college visits
Should you visit a college campus? If it’s a school of interest, then it is highly recommended that you pay a visit to the institution, take a campus tour, and sit in for an information session.
You will gain greater clarity whether that school is a good fit for you, and you will better understand how you would fit on campus.
Visiting college campuses achieve four major things:
1. Visits give you a sense of the physical space of a college – urban vs. rural, big vs. small size, quality of buildings/labs/resources, etc. – as well as the campus culture
2. Demonstrate your interest in that college – you wouldn’t visit a college campus if you weren’t thinking of applying there. Many colleges track this data.
3. Potentially debunk any stereotypes you have of that school and provide you with more accurate, specific understandings of what that school has to offer
4. Provide you new insights into how that school could be an excellent fit for you
With the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been interruptions to many students’ plans to visit college campuses. While you cannot necessarily replace being physically on campus, there are still some great ways to engage in college visits online and by adhering to social distancing protocols.
Many schools offer virtual tours to interested students. YouVisit is a website that combines 600+ online virtual tours, including many Ivy League and top schools. Campus Explorer also hosts some of these virtual tours, as well. You can often check out virtual maps, too, to get a better sense of physical space. And if you are closeby to a campus, you can always try and visit and adhere to social distancing protocols (wear a mask!), so you can at least walk around and get a sense of the space, even if there are no formal tours and information sessions being held.
CampusReel is a great resource to use in this time of virtual college visits. CampusReel offers 15,000+ student-generated videos, so you have access to real students at these institutions who provide you insight into why they chose that school, what the school has to offer, a look at campus culture, and a way to see the institution through the eyes of a real student. It also provides a wider range of perspectives than you would receive on one college tour.
Most schools have official YouTube channels where they provide online tours, behind-the-scenes videos with university tour guides, admissions officers, or faculty/staff members, and other videos to demonstrate what type of campus culture exists at their school. Additionally, many schools offer event signups where you can be a part of a virtual tour or information session. Usually this data is recorded and can be used in admissions committee decisions when assessing your interest in the school. The more you demonstrate to them your passion for their institution, the better chance you have at convincing the admissions team you’re a good fit for their school.
When thinking about the right college for you, you want to align your personal preferences for school type with what institutions have to offer. Therefore, it’s good to look geographically – are there areas that are off limits? Are there areas that you are particularly interested in exploring?
Break up the United States into 5 main categories to make this easier:
New England schools
West Coast schools
From there, you will have an easier process of creating a robust list of which school to visit – either in person or virtually. This is a great process to go through with your admissions consultant, too – by hiring a professional college admissions consultant, you have access to the best advice and guidance on which schools best align with your profile and personal interests.