College Advice Blog

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Dec 24, 2012

Tips to Get the Most Out of Your College Visits


Right now is a very awkward and nerve-racking time for high school seniors. The college applications have been sent in, and there really isn’t anything to do except wait anxiously by the mailbox each day for those acceptance letters to come back. Many people choose the visit they’ve applied to during this period of time, which is a great idea because you’ll know exactly which schools you want to attend and pray that the letter comes back with positive news. Many people who take college visits just simply take a tour of the college and head back to their hotel. If you really want to get a taste of what each college offers, you need to do more than that. Check out these tips on how to get the most out of your college visits. 

Venture Off Campus
You may have a hotel right next to campus, and spend your entire visit walking around campus and checking out different halls. If you really want to get a taste of what your experience at this college will be like, you need to do more than this. Take public transportation around the city your college is in, and even get lost! After your first year or so at school, you’ll abandon that twin XL dorm bedding and start venturing off into the city or town instead of staying on campus all the time. Make sure that you love the town just as much as you love the school, because you’ll be unhappy if you don’t. 

Check Out a Shadow Program
Sometimes the best way to experience a potential college is to actually experience it! Many colleges offer shadow programs to high school seniors that allow you to stay with a college student in his or her dorm or apartment for a night or two. The host student will probably take you out to eat at his or her favorite restaurant, and maybe even take you to some classes. This is probably the best way to experience what each college will be like, and you might even get to go to a party or two!

Sit in on Some Classes
If you prefer the comfort of a hotel, but still want to experience what it’s like to be a student at this college, grab a class schedule and sit in on some classes. You’ll quickly see that college classes are nothing like high school, and most teachers don’t take roll. Sit in on some classes in the major that you’re thinking of choosing, and you’ll get a great taste of what it’s like to be a student in that program. Try and attend a class in one of the bigger lecture halls, because you might stand out in a tiny classroom and be a distraction. 

Walk Around at Night
After you’ve taken the tours and sat in on classes, don’t just go back to your hotel! You may be tired, but you won’t regret walking around campus and the surrounding areas at night to get a feel for what the nightlife at the school is like. Don’t walk in any random parties, but just take a late night stroll to relax and check out what’s going on. 
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