Parents should attend at least a portion of the visit with the high school student to get an idea of what life will be like, as well as the financial and distance aspects of the college experience. Parents may notice some things that students will not that may have a significant bearing on whether or not the student might attend.
1. Spend Time
The amount of time spent on a campus will have a direct bearing on how much the student can learn about the university. Since schools often charge a fee for prospective weekends, overnight visits and sometimes for day visits, students may want to narrow down which ones they attend, and carefully choose between overnight and non-overnight visits.
Sometimes the distance traveled to the college campus may make that choice an easy one. The schools with the most interest or potential should earn the most time spent on campus. Those offering athletic or academic scholarships or financial assistance should also merit a longer visit.
2. Observe Student Life
Find out how many fraternities and sororities the university has, and whether they are social or academic. Determine whether they have Greek housing and look into the various activities and clubs.
3. Discover the Campus
Take a tour of the campus. Get a map. Check out the dormitories, libraries, classrooms, athletic fields of choice and other points of personal interest.
4. Learn About Scholarships
Find out what potential scholarship opportunities are available. For example, major scholarships in your field of interest may be available. For hopeful earth sciences majors, geology scholarships may be a possibility. Talking to the department head and securing a contact or at least application information is a wise use of time. Plan ahead and make an appointment.
5. Experience Campus Activities
Visit while school is in session, if possible. Attend a sporting event, especially for students interested in a sport on a sports team or athletic scholarships. See what type of enthusiasm and support the sports teams receive. Observe the condition of the training facilities and playing fields.
Often overlooked is the campus dining hall and its fare. Eat a meal there and experience the food, drink and dietary offerings first-hand. Ask students what they think of the food and whether there are other realistic dining options available.
Interact with the students, faculty and administrators. Ask questions. Talk to students about their use of time for partying, studying, socializing and attending classes.
Some schools will offer prospective students a personal host, often in their chosen major. Some visitors may be in large groups, depending on the length of the stay and time of year. Potential students should take this opportunity to shadow the students, ask questions and learn as much as possible.
Other recommendations on collage visits:
8. Make a reservation with the college/universities that your child is interested in attending. Visit their Undergraduate Admissions website and look for a “Visit” link. From there you will sign up for an information session and campus tour. From there you should be provided with directions and a confirmation for your visit.
9. If he/she is interested in a particular major, contact that department directly. Most schools will allow you the opportunity to meet with a professor or sit in on a class. What better way to get a real feel for the academic world on their campus?
10. So, you have scheduled your Admissions information session, the campus tour and you have appointments with the department, great! Now, Let’s figure out where to eat! Dining on campus is necessity for most college freshman.
Since most college freshman are required to live on campus, which means you will be eating a lot of campus food. From their main website search tool, type “dining on campus”. This will hopefully generate a list of places to eat and if they accept credit or debit. If not, make sure you have cash on hand. A lot of school cafeterias only allow you to pay with a dining plan. You can still purchase a dining card; it’s just a lot of extra hassle. It’s just better to know if you need cash on hand prior to arriving.
College campuses can seem overwhelming to prospective students. Most prospective students are used to their smaller high school atmosphere where everybody knows their name. During your campus tour, make sure you pay attention and ask questions. Your number one goal is to see if this college campus could be home to the visiting student for the next 4 years.
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