Juniors: Start Your College Visits

What are the top 10 things you're looking for in a college?

What are the top 10 things you're looking for in a college?

While seniors wait to receive decisions from colleges and struggle to stay engaged in their classes so as to finish the year off strong, juniors are gearing up for the long haul in front of them. First on the agenda is most likely college visits. These trips are the best way to begin to understand what you are looking for in a college, and for that reason it's best to tour a wide range of colleges including public and private schools of different sizes and specialties. You may already feel strongly about one type of college, but what you experience firsthand could surprise you, so be open-minded.  If you're just getting started, here are some basics that you need to know:

  • Be sure to research the admission pages of a college's website before you go, and try to connect with the college representative for your high school while on campus. You can also request an appointment with a professor, financial aid officer, or be connected with a current student during your visit.
  • Scheduling a visit can usually be done online through a college's website, but be sure to reserve several weeks in advance to make sure that you have a spot when you arrive.
  • The best times to visit are during your spring or fall break, but it's best if college classes are in session when you arrive as you want to get a realistic feel of day-to-day student life.
  • Visits are best with a parent or caretaker who is supporting you through the process. Attending with friends may take away from your personal reaction to a campus.
  • Begin visiting local colleges, followed by a few of your top choice schools that may be farther afield as you narrow your list
  • Expect the visit to begin with an introduction by an admission representative which includes a question-and-answer session. You will then take a group walking tour of the campus which may end with lunch in the student cafeteria.
  • After returning home, be sure to send a note or email thanking your representative, and stay in touch with colleges that remain on your list. Keep a file for each college containing notes and photos that will help you remember your experiences as you compare colleges.

Forming your college list can be a great time to explore your personal interests and likes and dislikes. Avoid choosing a college simply because of who else did attend/will be attending it, and try to form your own opinion so that your college years can be as rewarding as possible.

For more information on taking advantage of your college visits, check out this article.

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