A campus visit can answer many questions

September 19, 2012

When your college search starts turning up results, it can be tough to know exactly what it's like to attend the institution at hand. It's for that reason many people will take trips to campuses, travelling many miles in some cases to see for themselves what the school has to offer. And while making any visit can be helpful, there are specific ways that people can take full advantage of it.

Prepare questions in advance
In an article for The New York Times, Brennan Barnard, director of college counselling at New Hampshire-based Derryfield School, wrote about ways you can make the experience even more valuable. One of the first things he suggests is to come up with a number of different questions before getting to the college. When the tour begins, the guide will likely field inquiries. Taking some time to prepare beforehand will allow you to examine what is important to you.

Schedule an interview
Another thing to take advantage of, according to Barnard, is the opportunity to schedule an interview. Sitting down with an employee in the admissions office will show that you are serious about your interest in the school. In addition, Barnard points out that if a school's web site says that it "recommends" setting up an interview, visitors should take that to mean it's a requirement. There could also be an opportunity to learn about ways to apply for financial aid.

Get a better sense of campus life
Being able to roam the campus and see what different classes look like will allow people to get a real sense of what being a full-time student will feel like. In an interview with Fox Business, college admissions officer Dr. Jill Greenbaum said that in many cases it is next to impossible to fully understand what it will be like until you're physically at the location.

"You can’t get a sense of what you really like until you step on that campus," said Greenbaum, author of the blog MajorInYou, in an interview with the source. "You get a few books in the mail and they’re beautiful, but they’re really promotional materials for the college. You look at the web sites and they’re also beautiful and often easy to navigate with lots of great information, and yet you can’t get a sense of what’s the energy there."

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