6 Reasons You Should Visit Campus

Many students and parents wonder why they need to visit campuses. After all, they have to sacrifice weekends and vacation time to do them, a lot of information about schools is available online, and many admissions representatives use the opportunity to “sell” their college, rather than provide a balanced presentation of its pros and cons. Yet, before you decide to spend your time hitting the beach this summer, consider the following benefits of this coming-of-age ritual:

Demonstrated Interest
More and more, colleges are talking about demonstrated interest – a metric used in strategic enrollment management to determine who is genuinely interested in attending a school. The idea is, the more you reach out, the more seriously the admissions office will take your application. Simply by checking in at a school, not only do your chances of acceptance go up, but also those for receiving merit scholarships in your financial aid package!
This tactic works particularly well with small- to medium-sized schools that don’t fall into the highly selective category. But don’t worry if a college is too far away or too expensive to visit. Colleges understand that applicants have geographic and financial limitations, which prevent them from visiting even the top schools on their list, so just focus on those that you can realistically get to.

See if you like the campus
Many students desire a beautiful learning environment where they can lay on the lawn on warm spring days and work on their assignments in the sunshine. While many colleges fill their websites with the most aesthetically pleasing parts of their campus, they can’t hide the parts that are less so during a thorough campus visit. It will therefore be to your benefit to explore the areas of campus not included on the official campus tour. You may be surprised, pleasantly or otherwise, by what you will find.

Check out the surrounding area
When you decide to go to a school, you won’t just spend time on campus. You will inevitably venture beyond the gates to eat out, buy clothes, or simply get a change of scenery. As such, it will be important to determine if the surrounding area will give you what you need. While wandering around or driving through town, look to see if you will have access to the types of services you desire as well as if the neighborhood meets your safety standards. You don’t want to feel marooned for 4 years!

Get a sense for who the students are
Many colleges have earned reputations over the years with regard to the types of students they attract, but are the rumors true? The only way to find out is by visiting! While on campus, you will see if the other students are like you or at least, like what you’re looking for, and you will also gain the benefit of determining whether or not it’s a diverse campus, which for some students can make or break their decision to apply.

Get advice on how to apply to that school
During information sessions, which many colleges use to market their school, you occasionally speak to an admissions officer who provides fantastic insight into what the admissions committee is looking for in applicants. These people won’t feed you the usual vague fluff, but provide very practical advice on how to answer specific essay questions or they will tell you what matters beyond your transcript and test scores. When you visit, you should thus take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions pertaining to your personal background to get the insight and advice that you need.

Get to know your admissions representative
Every college assigns their admissions officers to specific groups of students, generally based on geographic location. When on campus, ask to speak to that person. Use that opportunity to learn what you want to know about the school or to ask about your personal situation. This way, he or she will become familiar with your case, and so any irregularities that arise will get properly handled. That person can become your advocate during the admissions process if you allow him or her to be!

Whether it is to get to know an admissions officer, gain insight on the admissions process, check out the people and the place, or to simply demonstrate interest, visiting colleges is well worth your time. And you may even find it will give you an advantage in the admissions race.

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 2:03 pm

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