Choosing the right college is an exciting process, and at times it can seem overwhelming, but by starting early you can make the process enjoyable. One of the important reasons to start early is to be able to visit all of the campuses on your list. By visiting a college’s campus you can start to picture yourself as part of its college program and community and you can learn about the city around the campus. While you may not be able to visit all of the colleges you are interested in attending, there are a few things you can do in your own community.
Visit College Websites
Take some time to review the college or university’s website to get a feel for what kind of campus they are on what might be featured on a tour. While there is no substitute to physically walking from building to building on a campus tour, this is a good place to start, especially if the college you are interested in attending is out of state.
Visit Area Campuses
Take a look at colleges in your hometown and take a practice visit. While they may not have made your short list, by taking a tour you can learn what you want in a dorm room and the importance of class size. If they offer a class visit make sure to take advantage of it; you may find that certain programs or professors resonate with you.
Contact College Admission Counselors
Make sure to go back to your short list of schools and reach out to your admissions counselor. If the university made the list because of the programs offered, ask for the contact information of the department chair. Some students choose colleges based on their athletics department, and your admissions counselors can connect you to the coaches as well. College admission counselors are a great resource during your search.
Once you are ready to start visiting your top schools, there are a few things you can do to get ready. By preparing for your visit ahead of time you will ensure all of your questions are answered in person. It is also important to make the most of your visit; the earlier you set up your visit the more you can do when you go.
Make sure you find out if you can:
• Take a tour of the campus
• Visit a dorm room
• Sit in on a class
• Meet with a faculty member or department chair
• Speak with the financial aid department
• Meet with your admission counselor
The University of St. Thomas offers the chance to do all of these things, but some schools may offer different opportunities. Make sure to reach out to the university’s campus visit coordinator to find out what you can do when you come to campus.
Emily Stickle is the campus visit coordinator at the University of St. Thomas. Her undergraduate degree is a bachelor’s in political Science and psychology, and she recently completed an MLA in public administration at the University of St. Thomas. Emily says the college admission process can seem daunting at times; however, the more time you spend visiting campuses, the better prepared you will feel. Many students also value the time spent visiting the campus, including class visits, dorm tours and meeting with coaches.