Junior year is known to be stressful as students need to focus on grades, college tests like the ACT and college visits. It’s also during junior year that most students begin to think about what colleges they may be interested in attending. A critical part of the process of creating your list of colleges is the college visit.
Most students feel that actually spending time on a college campus, taking a tour and meeting current students is important to understanding if a college could be a good fit. However, there are different options on how to visit a prospective college or university including staying with a friend who is already at that college or visiting with parents.
When students visit their friends, they get a realistic inside view of attending that school. They get to see the social aspects of the school and what it is truly like to go there. Typically, with this kind of visit, students get more of a glimpse into the social side of the school and less on the academic side.
However, when visiting with a parent you likely will get more insight into the academics and opportunities by taking a tour or meeting with professors in your field of interest. Yet this type of visit likely means staying at hotel with a parent and not participating in any of the social aspects of the school.
Junior Danielle Klein visited Lehigh University with her dad. On the tour they had an information session where an admissions representative spoke, they walked around the campus and saw different dorms. “I liked hearing all about the school from the admission representative but I wish I could of experienced the social parts of the school and heard about what Lehigh is like from a someone who goes there,” Klein said.
Klein also visited the University of Michigan. For this college visit she stayed with her sister who goes there. Klein’s sister took her to brunch at a local restaurant in Ann Arbor, a football game and dinner at a popular local restaurant. “I loved visiting my sister and being able to experience a football game like a student would was really cool,” Klein said.
Along with going on tours, students can also visit schools and get placed with students who go there. That student can show you around the college. However, if you are not like this student, your perspective of the school may be skewed.
Another good way to get an overview of a school regardless if you visit with a parent or stay with a friend is to take a tour of the campus. A tour provides a glimpse into dorms, academic buildings and at some schools the sports and greek life. “The tour at University of Virginia was great because I got to see a good part of the campus, talk to a current student and just watch the general activity taking place and doing it with my parents enabled me to get their opinion as well,” junior Peter Petri said.
Students also can visit a college where they have a sibling already attending to experience the school. “I visited University of Texas with my family and stayed at a hotel. I also went on my own and stayed with my sister at her dorm. I prefer staying in the dorm with my sister because I could get a feeling for the other students and social life,” junior Bailey Goldstein said.