When should I visit colleges?

3 Answers

SpanOne Staff Points0
Visiting before applying to colleges allows students and their parents to get a feel for the campus and environment before developing a college list. It requires planning, time, and travel. We recommend visits during the junior year and the early part of the senior year.
David Wagner Points0
Visiting colleges is very important. Visiting is the only way to truly get a sense of a college's academic environment, student population, and community. While college admission offices offer visits year-round, I recommend visiting on a regular day during the week to get the best sense of the school. If you visit during the summer, you won't get to see the college "in action." During your visit, it's okay to attend the information session and guided campus tour offered by the admission office. But, spend time "spying" on the college. Attend a class or two, if you can. Eat in the dining hall. If you can spend the night with a current student, take advantage of the opportunity. Talk with students. Ask them what they like about their school. Also ask students what they don't like. Most students, particularly those who are not affiliated with the admission office, will be honest with you.
Janice Kirn-Sottilaro Points0
Of course taking the time to visit a few colleges is a great idea. You can start right in your area to get a feel for the type of campus you might like. If there are any schools around you that are small, medium, or large sized, visit them first to walk each campus. In visiting schools in your area of different sizes, you will get an idea of the type of campus you are looking for.

In northern NJ, I suggest that students visit Rider University (small), Montclair State (medium), and Rutgers (large). For each visit, I also suggest they park in the lot farthest from the campus and walk or shuttle to each building. In visiting these schools, students are able to determine if walking or shuttling around a campus works for them, or they learn that they would rather be on a campus where all the buildings are much closer together. Once armed with an understanding of the size they are comfortable with, they can now focus on looking for schools that meet the size they like, which means another way to narrow their list. Visiting colleges after students know the size they might be comfortable with, allows them to focus on other areas of importance,making their decision process a bit easier.

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