We believe that informed decisions are always the most productive, and a college visit is well worth your time. Before your child sets his or her sights on a particular school, it’s important to get a feel for the campus and its social environment. We encourage you and your child to tour the university in person and to speak with current students about their experiences.
Here is some advice to make your college visit effective:
- Visit between September and April. By touring the campus on an active school day, you can witness how students behave, get a sense of the way the common areas are laid out, and potentially experience a class in progress. It’s vital to schedule your outing during the regular session instead of during a winter/spring break or holiday because things are usually very quiet during these breaks, and it doesn’t accurately reflect the campus dynamic. Likewise, visiting during the first few weeks of the semester can give you a false impression because students are still negotiating their schedules and haven’t set an established pattern that reflects college life. Finally, you should avoid touring during finals week because it, too, is a time that isn’t indicative of the average day.
- Schedule an informal tour. While an official visiting day may be informative, you might receive an exaggerated or skewed view of the campus since you’ll likely be meeting with college representatives and students who are quite enthusiastic about the college. If you visit on a regular day, you’ll receive a more honest look at how things work. During your visit, it’s best to talk with current students and ask the following questions:
- What do you think about this school?
- What do you like or dislike about the campus, its classes, and extracurricular activities?
- How do you feel about the housing accommodations on campus?
In addition, it’s also a good idea to meet with a variety of students and ask for their insight regarding clubs and or social/religious groups that interest you. You may also want to sit in on a class. This usually needs to be arranged in advance, but it’s worth the effort because you’ll be able to interact with students and professors who share an interest in your child’s prospective major.
- Consider spending a night or weekend on campus. This allows you to see even more aspects of campus life. You can learn about frequent activities and the social scene. Your child may want to attend a Model United Nations meeting, an acapella concert, or a campus sporting event as well.
We hope you find this advice helpful. Visiting campuses and gathering information about schools is the key to selecting a university that fits your child’s needs. If you have any questions or if we can be of any help, please feel free to call us at 212-706-1004 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.