Visiting a Prospective College: Take Our College Checklist With You
Congratulations! You have been invited to a college tour. While your offer of acceptance may not be final (although, if your grades remain good, it should not be a problem), you should start planning to visit all the colleges and universities you are interested in attending. For more information or help to ensure you fully benefit from college tours, don’t hesitate to consult an academic coach.
Here are the steps you should take to ensure you maximize this opportunity. Good luck.
Prior to Touring:
- Call or visit the admissions offices of the various universities and colleges you are interested in attending. Admissions officers are your best friends when applying. They can send you helpful itinerary, notes, and may even be able to suggest various meet-ups and other events for you to network prior to starting your studies.
- Call or visit the tuition and financial aid departments. You may be eligible for grants or scholarships that you had no idea you qualified for. Suddenly learning that a university or college is affordable can change all your college plans. Do it as early as possible though. Some scholarships and grants are offered on a first come, first serve basis. For more scholarship insights, consult with an academic coach. They will help you learn what to look for when considering the financial packages each college offers.
Attending the Tour:
- Verify the address of the campus, the various buildings you will be visiting, and the parking lot locations before getting into the car. While some college campuses are small and exclusive, others can be vast, spanning many city blocks. The last thing you want to do is be lost or arrive late.
- Make sure you bring any material the college has sent you. They may have sent important documents, like contact information for the college tour guide, a conditional offer of acceptance, or even student housing brochures. It is better to have any material you may need on hand instead of leaving at home. You can also scan the information to your smartphone so any information you need is directly accessible from your pocket. To learn which material is relevant and which is not, consult with an academic coach today!
- Give yourself an estimated travel time of 150%. If it takes an hour to drive to your prospective college, leave an hour-and-a-half to two hours beforehand, at the latest. Even the best geospatial technologies like Waze or Garmin cannot predict traffic conditions 100% accurately. It would be unfortunate if you were to be late or miss the tour due to an unforeseen accident on the freeway or traffic congestion.
- Attempt to go on the official college tour each college or university offers. However, you can also learn a lot about the premises by exploring on your own. If you see something on the tour you want to explore in more depth, make a note of it and return to the area later. An academic coach can help prepare you for your college tour.
- If you are on a college tour, your itinerary is pretty much set. However, you may be able to visit student centers or classrooms during the day. These two settings are the best indication of whether the particular students at that college are serious about their classes and grades. College education is a big investment. You do not want to be surprised regarding the intellectual reputation of your college once you enrol. Also, make sure you walk into the libraries and observe how students are studying.
- Don't just go to your first choice schools. Go to your safety schools as well. It is one thing to see a college online or to read the promotional brochure. It is another to live and breathe it for a day and to see the campus come alive. As well, if you can, visit your college of choice twice or even three times. You never know what you'll see, or what you missed previously. A qualified academic coach can help you learn what to look for when visiting colleges.
- Visit on the weekend if you can. This will allow you to observe the more focused and determined students, as they will most likely spend as much time as they can in the school’s lab spaces and libraries.
After the Tour:
- Write a follow-up letter or give a follow-up call to your admissions officer. Comment on your experiences on the tour and ask more questions if you have them. Admissions officers like it when prospective students make the effort and they will not mind if you ask them questions. Sometimes, high school students think they are being bothersome. In fact, it is quite the opposite! It shows you are dedicated to obtaining a quality education. Your admissions officer will also remember you and, if you are one applicant among many hundreds or thousands of applicants, it may be beneficial to your admissions chances if the admissions staff remember you positively. For more tips to enhance your college application, consult with an academic coach today.
- Remain connected with your prospective university or college on social media. You may be invited to a webinar for prospective students or a campus event. If you are interested in the social life on campus, it makes sense to build a network before you arrive there. You never know which fraternity or sorority will ask you to pledge, or the various clubs and organizations that you might want to join later on.