Why In Person Campus Visits Will Always Beat Virtual Tours

There is nothing like visiting a college campus with your feet on the ground while imagining your future life as a student.

It is true that virtual campus visits come in handy and make campus tours accessible to everyone. However, if you are able, we strongly recommend that you physically visit the college. This is truly the only way to get the full experience of what each campus has to offer. 

Why Attend In Person Campus Visits

While the curriculum is a big selling point to many college applicants, that only begins to scratch the surface of life on campus.

Get The Whole Official Tour Experience

When planning your campus visit, make sure to reach out to the college and schedule a tour. You’ll have a tour guide – usually a student ambassador – guide you through campus. 

From classrooms to dorm rooms and student hang-out spots to the library, it’s a great way to see it all. You can probably wander around the campus yourself, but this is the perfect place to start.

Aside from seeing the main parts of campus with your own eyes, this official tour will most likely teach you a few things. Older colleges may have historic buildings that draw the attention of architects and photographers. If the school has a large sports program, then you might learn some of the favorite fight songs. Or if you’re applying to schools like UT or LSU, then you might get to meet their living mascots. Meeting Bevo or Mike The Tiger may be the perfect addition to a day of exploration.

Want to maximize your college visits? Read our previous blog Top 10 Tips For A Successful Campus Visit. 

Breathe In The Campus Air

There’s something that hits different when you’re visiting a campus in person. Maybe it’s the air of educational curiosity or actually seeing someone scurry off to class. 

Whatever it is, no virtual tour can compete with an in person campus visit. Because what most applicants are looking for is a sense of belonging. And when you’re wandering through a diverse and bustling campus, you’re sure to see people you find interesting. 

Whether you’re looking forward to the social dynamics of greek life or prefer to hang with the international film buffs, there is truly a community for everyone. 

Make sure to take some time to sit on a bench to watch and listen to what’s going on around you. College campuses are magical places full of possibilities and challenges. Finding the campus that inspires you the most may be the key to deciding where to apply.

Classrooms & Labs

For the most part, attending a college course is more liberating than a high school class. First off, you no longer have to ask permission to use the restroom. Moreover, the teacher isn’t going to hound you for missing assignments.

Welcome to adulthood. 

Trust me, the whole taking accountability of yourself part is worth it. And the sooner you practice good habits, the sooner you’ll be checking off the academic goals on your list. 

But, back to the tour! Some campuses may be entirely comprised of 100-year-old buildings. While others may only have the newest innovations. Or, your future school may have a healthy mix of both. 

You can probably expect to see some classrooms full of desks and a chalkboard. Then you may walk across the quad to a brand spanking new science building with the best labs in the country. 

Whether you have a major in mind or are multi-interested, seeing these spaces in person is important to really get a sense of what they’re like. For the next 4 years, these may be the buildings you race between with your book bag in tow. 

Have an ideal college in mind? The time to start preparing your application is now. Reach out to us for guidance on nailing the admission process.

Professors’ Offices

Getting a glimpse into the offices of college professors is always awe-inspiring. 

These people who have made a career in academia tend to have a distinguished air about them. And it’s also kind of fun to see the kooky articles and jokes some may have taped to their doors. 

Some colleges require professors to keep set office hours to meet with students. Whether or not your school does this, you’ll probably find yourself knocking on several professors’ doors over the upcoming years. Don’t be intimidated. It’s a great way to show you care about the class, brainstorm ideas on your final project, and connect with people who have a genuine interest in your learning. 

So go ahead and get comfortable. The best way forward is to start making moves. Sheepishly shuffling into a professor’s office won’t get you as far as having confident, intelligent conversations.

Campus Library

Libraries are more than just a place to check out books.

For many college campuses, libraries represent a central hub on campus. A place to meet classmates for a study session. Or just a quiet spot to rid yourself of the distractions that live in your home or dorm. 

Plus, some libraries provide resources you’ll be looking forward to taking advantage of. From using the library computers to printing out the syllabus for each class, this may become a second home.

Sometimes, you can even rent textbooks, laptops, or other electronic equipment for your coursework. 

Dining Halls & Food Courts

No matter where you attend school, you’re going to need to eat.

You may be one of many young college students with a propensity towards fast food and your favorite snacks. While those may sound tasty, don’t ignore the numerous food options on campus.

The dining hall will likely offer a wide variety of well-rounded meals. You know – some meat, dinner rolls, vegetables, and even dessert. Do yourself a favor, and give these places a shot. Years from now you’ll be reminiscing about the good times you had while enjoying the closest thing to a home-cooked meal here.

Then, there are the food courts. Rather than going through the buffet line of the dining hall, you choose from the different mall-style restaurants. While each school is different, don’t be surprised to see a wide range of foods representing different cultures. From pasta to sushi and gyoza, good old-fashioned burgers, custom salads, or your favorite sandwich, you can find a lot here. 

Dorm Rooms

If you’re planning to live on campus, you’re probably anxious to see the accommodations for yourself. 

For anyone who has ever looked for housing online, it’s clear that pictures don’t always do the space justice. 

Some dorms offer private bathrooms. Others may have suites, where four rooms share one. Then there are several with large communal bathrooms shared by the entire floor.

Moreover, dorms come in different shapes and sizes. Some rooms may accommodate a total of two students, while another may house six people. Getting an idea of the housing accommodations can help you start preparing early. 

Will living in a specific dorm really be the icing on the cake to your ideal freshman year? Then figure out which one suits your fancy and get on the list early. You’ll want to make sure to secure your spot and plan ahead with any roommate goals. For instance, the University of Texas accepts non-refundable deposits to secure your spot in line before you even receive an acceptance letter. These are the types of things to consider if a certain dorm has caught your eye.

If you don’t have a roommate in mind, that’s okay! Plenty of great friendships were forged through the potluck system. And if you two don’t become best friends, that’s okay, too. You’ll still be living with a peer and fellow student. When it’s your first time living away from home, it can be nice to have company.

College Students In Action

One of the greatest things you’ll take away from an in person campus visit is observing the students.

Maybe you’ll even overhear chatter around campus. Keep an eye out for bulletin boards that tend to be full of flyers for clubs to join or upcoming events.

Feel free to ask questions. Whether from the barista at the campus coffee shop (but don’t hold up the line), the person giving your tour, or any other students or faculty you see. It’s important to remember that they have all been in your shoes. They remember what it was like to decide on a college.

The Sense Of Belonging From In Person Campus Visits Can Be The Turning Point In Your College Search

As advocates of all students unlocking their potential, we want to help you prepare, prepare, prepare. 

And while you’re navigating the college application process and narrowing down ideal schools, we believe that visits should play a big part. Because just like unlocking your potential, you may not be aware of what your bright future holds until it’s shining in your face.

Reach out to Bright Futures to find out how we can help your student put their best foot forward. Schedule a complimentary consultation here.