While college visits seem optimal during summer vacation, what might be missing from the campus tour are the college students. So how can you maximize your time on campus and in the surrounding community? Here are some starter tips, but build a list of your own before you go – and take notes.
Pick up the latest edition of the school paper.
Visit departments that would support your interests: study abroad, your major, academic support, recreational facilities. Find out if there are additional fees to travel, work out or join an intramural team.
Try to talk with a professor in the area in which you’re interested.
Visit the library and find out how extensive the on-campus resources are.
Are there multiple libraries?
Do colleges nearby share resources?
Expand your list of questions so that they are specific to your needs. Explore each campus to find the answers you will want to have before you put a college on your application list.
What’s your favorite comfort food and is it within walking distance? Try out the campus food. Are there other options that a flexible meal-plan will support? If you don’t know what the meal plan is – find out!
Where is the closest pharmacy and what are the hours of operation?
Do the dorms have air conditioning?
Take pictures to remember the campus
How big are freshman classes – really?
Do graduate students or professors do most of the teaching?
Stop a student and ask them a few questions: What do they like best? If they could choose a school again, what would they do? Get recommendations on classes, professors, places to eat... you get the picture.
Is there public transportation, Uber, bike-share, or some other means to support getting around campus and off-campus?
What are some of the traditions, trivia, and good to know facts?
If you step on the “M” at the University of Michigan will you really flunk your blue book finals? Have you visited any other schools that have a similar tradition? (I can think of one close by).
Why do they need to “guard” the Rock at Northwestern University before they paint it?
What is Mountain Day and for which school?
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