College visits offer students guidance


Gayatri Dhavala

Incorporating helpful steps and tips that many are unaware of can make college visits fun and more productive for a student.

Gayatri Dhavala, Business Manager

Many underclassmen will start planning to visit their dream colleges soon but may have no clue where to start. College visits present interested students with the opportunity to get a feel for a school while also exploring many aspects of campus life.

 In many cases, college visits can be the most vital part of determining a student’s post-high school journey and students should attend according to college and career specialist Kristie Greiner. 

“The best time to start visiting colleges is as soon as high school starts or whenever a student has a holiday,” Greiner said. “College visits are an investment to see if a university caters to a student’s personality and if attending that place is worth the money.”

Many colleges are offering in-person visits that can be scheduled on the college’s website. A prospective student should make a pre-visit checklist that consists of athletic facilities, study abroad programs, on-campus clubs/work opportunities, class size and student diversity. 

“When going to a college visit a student should prepare a set of questions for either the tour guide and students on campus regarding the dynamics of the school, social /dorm life, academic pressure, and student retention rate in order to see if the school is a right fit,” senior Lila Farooq said.

A large part of visiting colleges is to tour campus and get a chance to experience what life at that university would look like. If given the opportunity, a student can receive permission to sit-in on an interesting lecture, try food at dining halls and even sleep in a dorm to get a jist of what a day in that college would be like. Additionally, if a student finds writing questions difficult regarding a college tour, The Princeton Review offers a list that satisfies areas for almost every area necessary for a successful visit. 

“For me the most important aspect was education, so I sat-in on a class that was related to my major and loved the atmosphere,” Farooq said. “A must for college visits is to try the food in dining halls and in town to see if you like it because that place will be home for four years.”

According to College Board, key ways to achieve the most of a college visit include exploring social parts of campus such as dining halls, reading the school’s newspaper (especially the op-ed section) to get informed, interacting with school faculty and taking a realistic yet personal approach while considering applying. 

“Getting to tour colleges was a great way to see what I wanted from a university and helped me shorten my application list to schools that suited me best,” senior Nia Smith said. “I would advise people to be realistic, researched and open-minded while touring colleges.”

Although in-person visits are more effective according to U.S News, many schools offer virtual information sessions that are a source of general information about the college and their admissions process and are helpful to attend if a college is too far to visit. 

“Attending [virtual or in-person] information sessions show demonstrated interest from a [prospective student] which makes them stand out in the admissions process,” Greiner said. “A student should look at a school to see if they are an academic, social and financial fit and information sessions are a great source of information.”