Make the Most of College Visits

If you're applying to a school far away, you might only get one chance to visit before you make your final decision on which college to attend. Even if the school is close to home, you might not find the time to squeeze in an extra visit. Junior and senior years, after all, are busy times. Here are a few tips on maximizing the time you spend looking at colleges and on leaving an impression after you go home.

Plan to spend 3 hours to half a day at each school to allow enough time for an information session or meeting with admission officer and a campus tour. Having a friend on campus show you around is often a helpful way to view a campus.

Arrange your visits several weeks or more in advance by scheduling information sessions and tours online and arranging interviews if required or offered. Depending on your interests, include plans to sit in on a class, speak to a professor or coach, or eat in a dining hall.

If your plans change when you are visiting and you decide not to attend a tour or information session, check in with the admissions office to let them know you are there and visiting a different way. Some schools keep track of visits as demonstrated interest. If you decide to return to a school for a second visit, stop in the admission office to ask a question, pick up information or add yourself to their mailing list.

Email or mail a thank you note to those who were helpful on your visit. This could include an admission officer or professor you met with. In particular, if you had an interview, whether evaluative or informational, be sure to follow up with a thank you for the person’s time and mention some detail of the meeting that left an impression on you so the person will have something to remember you by.