College visits are important to making an informed decision on which education institution is right for you. While that program at the state college several hours away might seem good on paper, course sizes and professors aren’t the only factors you should consider. Where you will live, the campus community you will be a part of, and basics like where to eat and study will all play a role in your college experience. To make the most of your campus visits, keep the following in mind:
Ditch the Tour Guide
While taking the official tour is a good way to get a general understanding of how the campus functions, you should also spend time exploring on your own. Often tour guides will highlight the prettiest or more interesting buildings on campus – but this isn’t the entire story. Taking some time to poke around can give you a more complete idea of what each college campus is all about.
Take Pictures and Notes
Chances are you will end up visiting several colleges before you make your final decision. Taking detailed notes and pictures that highlight the pros and cons of each college – as well as your impressions and feelings of the place – will be of great assistance when trying to recall the details months later.
Spend a Day in the Life of a Student
Tailor your campus visit to get a feel of what it would be like to be a student there. Often faculties are grouped in different areas on campus- how far away would your classes be from your residence? What kind of cuisine is offered at the cafeteria? Are there any good study spots in the library? If you know what you want to study, sitting in a course can give you a good idea of what to expect in terms of class size, professors and discussion-most colleges are fine with this if you schedule ahead first.
Explore Beyond the Campus Boundaries
Choosing a college also means choosing a community to live in for several years. While you’ll probably live in residence in your first year, you may want to move off campus at some point. Take some time to explore the neighborhood around the college. What is the average cost of rent? Is there free street parking? What sort of amenities – like grocery stores, coffee shops or libraries – are there? Getting a sense of the campus and the surrounding area will help you better plan for your complete college experience.