Your College Campus Visits Guidebook

Would you buy a home without seeing it in person? Unless you’re in a hot real estate market, you probably want to see the house in person. 

So why would you select a college without scheduling a campus visit? Especially considering the investment amount is about the same, it’s a big decision!

However, you don’t just want to snag a glance at the campus. You want the whole experience of an official college tour. Not only will it help you decide between colleges, but it will also give you the greatest insight into life as a college student. 

7 Tips For Making The Most Of Your Campus Visit

Campus visits can help you prepare for college life, get more comfortable with your soon to be home, and demonstrate interest to increase your chances of acceptance. Make these 7 tips as your official campus visit guidebook and have fun!

1. Plan Ahead & Schedule An Official Tour

A casual stroll through campus sounds nice, but you’ll have plenty of time to do that as a student. 

When visiting prospective college campuses, you need to schedule an official tour through the admissions office. This will allow you to gain the most knowledge possible in a short amount of time. 

Moreover, plan ahead and come up with a game plan. Bring a notepad and pen to take notes. Keep in mind that you’ll be on the move. So make sure the notepad has a hardback so you can jot down notes while standing without a writing surface. 

If you want some visual reminders of the tour, take pictures and videos with your phone. And if your parents or a friend will be joining you, make a shared photo album so you can reference everyone’s pictures and videos. 

2. Get The Whole Guided Experience

Now that you’ve signed up for the official tour, take advantage of it! Stay up front near the tour guide and listen carefully. Each campus has its own special qualities and history. 

The tour guide will likely be a student ambassador. But keep in mind that they will probably fill the admissions office in on prospective students that stand out. 

Campus visits are great opportunities to make an impression. So make it count. While it’s perfectly acceptable (and encouraged) to take notes, be careful not to be glued to your phone the whole time. If you happen to check social media every time you open your phone, consider setting it to airplane mode to dull the urge. You’re here to take notes, make decisions, and leave a positive impression. 

3. Visit The Department Where You Plan To Study

Already have a major in mind? Then this is your time to shine!

First of all, this is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate interest. Secondly, you can actually get a special in-person experience of the department of study. 

Interested in media production? Make arrangements ahead of time to visit the campus production studio.

Or does biology sound more like the major for you? Ask for a tour of the lab and introduce yourself to any professors and lab assistants. 

Here’s the clinker to make an impact – ask for their names and remember them. Send everyone an email or card thanking them for their time. When it comes time to apply, you’ll have already made a personal connection. This can raise your chances of acceptance, and any future connections could last a lifetime. 

In your first two years, you may not be taking classes focused on your major. Unless you place out of them with AP credits, you’ll likely spend the first couple of years on prerequisites. However, touring these different places can serve as inspiration if you’re multi-interested. Additionally, the interest you will be demonstrating will only help your application stand out. 

If you’re unsure about your college major, don’t sweat it! Bright Futures work with plenty of multi-interested students to help them submit killer applications to get them noticed. Schedule a complimentary consultation to learn more!

4. Tour The Dorms To Get A Feel For Living On Campus

Planning to live on campus? Then you 100% definitely want to tour the dorms. Tour them all if possible. This will be where you sleep, study, shower, and relax. 

Sure, it won’t be the same as your bedroom at home. But if there are options to choose between, you need to know which suits your needs best. For instance, would you feel more comfortable living in a dorm where everyone identifies as the same sex as you do? Think, girls’ nights and bachelor pads. Things can be more relaxed and fun when there’s no worrying about friends of the opposite sex showing up at any moment. 

Or does a co-ed dorm sound more your speed? Most mixed-sex dorms separate those who identify as male and female on separate floors. So at least community bathrooms will be more comfortable to use. 

Also, some dorms may offer classes in the common areas. How great does it sound to literally be 3 minutes away from your first morning class? Whether you decide to sleep in a little later or prepare a little harder for the class ahead, extra time is always nice. 

Better yet, take advantage of an opportunity to sleep in a dorm overnight. This will give you the best vantage point of a campus dweller’s routine. 

Once you narrow down your favorite dorm, make sure to apply for housing as soon as possible. Dorms fill up fast and the best usually go first. 

5. Say Hello To The Admissions Counselor

Find out if your admissions counselor has time in their schedule to meet during your visit. 

This is a great chance to speak to them about your college application process, ask any questions you may have, and just simply demonstrate interest. 

Make sure to dress appropriately and come prepared with questions. Don’t be shy about talking about your achievements, goals, and why you want to attend their school. But don’t talk their ears off either. Keep it short, productive, and sweet. They’ll be happy to review your application when it hits their desk later on. 

Bright Futures can help your student and family navigate the college admissions process with ease. Schedule an appointment to learn more. 

6. Get Down To Business

Have questions about the business and finance side of things? Then schedule an appointment with the business office during your visit. 

Some topics you may want to discuss include:

  • Available scholarships
  • Policies on retaining scholarships
  • Work-study programs
  • How to navigate the fee payments on their website
  • Expected tuition increases
  • And anything else you may be pondering!

While the people in the business office likely won’t have a say in your admission, it’s still important to treat them with respect. Be kind, generous, patient, and be grateful for their time. Include whoever you meet with on your list of people to send a thank you note. People across departments talk. You want to be known as the nice student eager to join their wonderful college.

7. Take Notes & Have Fun!

Use that notepad wisely. There will be a ton of information thrown at you. And if you’re not taking notes, you’ll probably forget a big chunk of useful knowledge after a long day.

Make sure to get business cards from each person you meet. If they don’t have a business card, ask for their email and immediately put it in your phone or notepad. However, you can probably access their contact information on the college’s website with just their name. But be sure before you rely on that method. 

After your visit, it will be time to write thank you notes. Emails are usually fine. But you’re here to make an impression. Handwritten thank you notes are memorable and sometimes end up on professors’ and administrators’ bulletin boards. 

Aim for making an impact with a great first impression. But also remember to have fun and be yourself. 

Ready To Nail The College Admissions Process?

Bright Futures helps students understand their strengths, goals, interests, and behaviors. This level of self acceptance is invaluable in the college admissions process. A student who portrays self acceptance and the ability to identify their best opportunities will always stand out among a stack of applications. 

Find out how we can open the door to your bright future. Schedule a complimentary consultation today to get started. 

Note: This post was originally published on June 6, 2014 and has been completely revamped for comprehensiveness.