On the Road to Choosing a College: The Importance of Campus Visits

You wouldn’t rent a house or an apartment without seeing it first, would you? The same thing applies when you are choosing a college. No matter how much your parents are urging you to go to a particular university or however solid the reputation of a college that you have your eyes on is, you still shouldn't make that final decision without paying the campus a visit first.

The Numerous Benefits of Campus Visits

So what exactly is so important about campus visits? What are the benefits that you will get to enjoy as a result of scheduling one for you and your parents or you and your friends?

First of all, you can make a fun yet valuable road trip out of your campus visit. If you are planning to attend the local college or the nearest university in your area, even the simple act of dropping by and checking it out would give you a feel of the campus environment.

Second, a campus visit will eliminate any surprises about the educational institution that you plan on attending. Sure, a college might look great in a brochure or a pamphlet but after visiting, you might not like the 'feel' of the campus at all.

Did you know that there are even horror stories of some students going by the reputation of the school alone and applying without paying the campus a visit? Once the student got accepted to a prestigious university, he found out later on that it was an all-male school – which he did not like at all. A simple campus visit would have solved this problem.

Tips to Remember when Planning a Campus Visit

Now that you already understand the importance of campus visits, here are a few tips that you need to keep in mind when scheduling one:

1. Come prepared.

Your campus visit will be of no use if you don’t come prepared. Prior to the day that you're supposed to pay the college campus a visit, make sure to read the literature provided for incoming students.

Bring your transcript of records, just in case you are able to schedule an interview with the admission officers. If you have any questions about the academic requirements or the athletic/academic scholarships that the college offers, write them down. This way, you will be able to make the most out of your visit.

2. Take note of your visit, and even snap a few pictures

Just as it is when you are purchasing a product, you are actually paying for the service provided by the school when you go to a college. So if you want to get the best value out of your or your parents' hard-earned money, make a comparison between the benefits and rates offered by each college that you will visit. Bring your camera along as well, taking a few photos and reviewing them later on definitely can’t hurt.

3. If possible, spend a night at the college

Talk to the students and spend the night at the residence hall if possible. This way, you will have a feel of how it is to actually study there and this should play a big role when making your decision.

4. Explore the campus on your own

There will probably be a guided tour but make sure to squeeze in the time to explore the campus on your own. Read the bulletin boards, call in to schedule a class visit or simply walk around so that you get the complete campus visit experience.

At the end of the day, keep in mind that you will be spending four years of your life at the college that you will be attending, so it is extremely important to schedule a campus visit before making your final decision. Don’t blindly rely on what others are saying, don’t let the reputation of the college trick you into thinking that it represents the best choice for absolutely everyone.

Think about it this way: life is all about making choices and being responsible for your actions. Choosing a college is one of the first tests you will be facing as an adult. Your friends, teachers and family members can indeed help you make an informed decision but you will be the person who ultimately has to invest 4 years in order to obtain a degree. Keep your mind open and try your best to make an informed decision. Don’t limit yourself to simply reading a brochure, be proactive and pay the potential college of your dreams a visit. Organize things carefully and do whatever you can in order to turn your visit into something extremely productive.