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The campus visit is an effective way to provide students and families with an idea of the actual experience that a college provides. In fact, just setting foot on campus can be an almost instantaneous confirmation or rejection of how a student feels about the campus and whether or not to apply.  Junior and Seniors are allowed four college visits per year.

HOW TO EXCUSE YOUR COLLEGE VISIT ABSENCES

  • Notify your attendance office by parent note at least 24 hours in advance.
  • Student must provide documentation of visit on college letterhead with the date of visit.
  • Student should notify teachers a week in advance to collect any work that will be missed during the college visit.

WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOUR VISIT

Read as much as possible about the campus so that you feel familiar with the departments and majors that are offered, campus life, the type of living arrangements that are available to students, types of events during the year, clubs and activities, the environment and attractions of the surrounding town or city, available transportation and proximity to an airport. The more you know about the campus before you visit, the more prepared you will be to evaluate the whole college perspective as you see the physical layout.

Find a campus map that tells more than just the names of the buildings. You will want to know what is taught in each facility and visit the departments that teach the subjects of your interest. Before you go on your visit, check the campus admissions website, and call or email the admissions office about:

  • Campus tours and information sessions, and any special days that might be scheduled for all-day programs for prospective students.

  • Classes you can attend, especially classes in the subjects of your interest. At a few campuses, you need to know a current student in attendance in order to be able to visit a class.

  • Dining Hall information about hours and availability to visitors. Passes are occasionally provided.

  • A schedule of activities on weekdays and weekends.

  • The possibility of faculty appointments in subjects of interest.

  • An appointment with a coach, if applicable.

  • A list of area attractions that might be worth seeing.

  • A host for an overnight stay, although this is not as available as it used to be. Many campuses are no longer providing this option.

  • An interview appointment, if appropriate, but these are certainly not necessary. In fact, the timing of an on-campus interview can be very limited according to what the admissions officers have available, and compromise your overall travel schedule. If a college requires an interview as part of the admissions process, applicants will be able to meet with a college alumnus in the student’s home area. The college will contact students and arrange for such required interviews. 


WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU VISIT

Visit the Academic Departments - of the subjects you may want to study. Even though you may not know exactly what your major will be, you probably have a general idea of your interests. At college you will be spending much time in the building/s of your subject interests. Check out the life of the department. Do the services and personnel seem supportive? What are the facilities like? Do they have the latest equipment and labs for research? Talk to students in that major, if possible.

Attend at least one class - in an area of your academic interest (if possible). Was it interesting? Challenging? Do the students look interested/engaged? Can you picture yourself in this class and studying with these students? Do professors know students’ names? Do graduate students teach some classes? Ask if professors are really available for students or if students are deferred to grad students.

Speak with a Professor - Is he/she friendly? Encouraging? Intimidating? How involved are the professors in advising undergraduate students?

If you have Special Learning Needs - Visit the academic support center and ask applicable questions.

Visit the Student Center - What sort of activities do you see? Do they sound like fun? Are there study abroad opportunities or semester exchanges with other college campuses? Are your interests represented? Are banking and postal services available here? Is transportation provided to local activities off campus and to the airport?

Tour the Athletic Facilities – Is there an equipment facility that is available to all students? What hours is it open? How modern is the equipment? Check on the facilities specific to the sport of your interest. For example, can you use the ice rink when the hockey team isn’t practicing? How about the tennis courts? Pool?

Tour the Computer Centers – How crowded are they? What hours are they open? Do most students bring their own computer? What kind? What is the access to and level of tech support? How convenient is it to get your laptop repaired/serviced? What type of software is available? Is printing readily available? Are computer centers conveniently located around campus? Is the campus totally wireless?

Visit the Library - Are there quiet, comfortable areas in which to study? Group study areas? Open stacks? Closed stacks? A snack bar? Newspapers from your hometown? What hours is the library open? What databases offer access to other library systems? What arrangements are there for inter-library loans?

Visit facilities of special interest - for example, the art museum, dance studio, campus theater, or music hall. Are there exhibits or performances of interest? Is there a well-equipped science lab? Do undergrads get to use it?

Eat at least one meal in a campus dining hall - How was the food? Are there many, varied choices? Do the choices include food allergy items like gluten-free, dairy-free? Is there a snack bar or coffee house you can frequent instead? Do a lot of people eat in the dining hall? What meal plans are available?

Spend the night in the dormitory if allowed – Check with the college about overnight visiting policies. Are dorms single sex or co-ed? How many students per room? How large are the rooms? Are the bathrooms co-ed? How convenient/crowded/clean are the bathrooms? Does the dorm have visitation hours? What safety measures in place? Is there a live-in residence hall assistant or dorm supervisor?

Visit the Student Health Center - What are the hours? What happens if a student gets sick “after hours”? Is the staff knowledgeable?

Visit the Career Center - Is it professionally staffed? How extensive are the job postings? What companies recruit on campus? How many internships are available? How active is the career center staff in making students aware of career and internship opportunities?

Visit the College Bookstore - Does it sell used textbooks? Do they rent textbooks? What kinds of books would you be required to read for your possible major? How common is the use of e-books and how does the price compare with rental/purchase? What technology is preferred for e-books (Kindle? iPad?) What other types of merchandise are for sale?

Read a recent copy of the student paper - What are the current issues that are making the headlines? What impression do you get about the student/faculty/administration relationships? How often is the paper published (electronic or hard copy)?

Listen to the college radio station - do the programs reflect your taste?

Stroll the campus and surroundings and look at the students - observe all ongoing activities. Do the students seem friendly? Can you picture yourself making friends with them? How easy is it to navigate campus? What appeals to you as you walk around? What doesn’t?

Visit the admissions office - fill out a card that lets the personnel know that you were on campus

Visit the financial aid office -  make an appointment to have specific or personal questions answered

Personal interview - Usually not necessary (See note above). If you do have an on-campus meeting with an admissions, athletic, or department representative, try to have a campus tour first and ask your tour guide some preliminary questions (see below). Save your most thoughtful questions for your interviewer. Possibly visit the financial aid office. Remember to write thank you letters to your interviewer.

Check security on campus - what is the crime rate on campus? In the community? Is there a security escort service available 24 hours a day?

Write down notes concerning the above information following the visit—This is very important! After looking at a number of colleges your memories can blur.


Campus Visit Score Card

Questions to Ask