Spring break is a well-known time for families to venture out onto college campuses for visits. Often, families will find a couple of colleges in the location they are taking their spring break vacation and stop in for a visit. Incorporating college visits into your trip to California is a great idea, but you don’t have to go that far.
We are fortunate in Minnesota to have many colleges and universities in our own backyard that have similar characteristics of colleges and universities throughout the nation you might be interested in. So, if California isn’t in the spring break plans, maybe St. Paul can be.
How do you set up a campus visit?
All college websites have a “Visit Campus” page under their admissions tab. Most schools will direct you to fill out a registration form or to call the campus to schedule your visit. Most schools will even supply you with comprehensive information on how to get to the college from the North, South, East or West by car, plane or train! They want to make it as easy as possible for you to get to campus. You might even arrive to your name in lights with a specialized parking spot.
What is included on a campus visit?
Campus visits include a student-guided tour. This is a great opportunity to see the campus, hear some history of the campus, and see the academic buildings and residence halls. More importantly, it gives you an opportunity to talk with a student to get his or her perspective and hear about his or her experiences at the school. Remember this is just one student’s perspective. We encourage talking to students around campus to hear even more perspectives.
An information session or a meeting with an admissions counselor is usually included in a campus visit. At larger colleges and universities, you might sit with 50 other families to hear an overview. At smaller colleges and universities, you might have a more intimate one-on-one meeting with an admissions counselor, and they may ask questions to get to know you better.
What is my role as the student?
One of the most important things a student can do to prepare for a campus visit is formulate a list of questions that provide information beyond what you can already find on the website, and questions that can help you learn more about characteristics that are important to you. Asking the question, “How is your biology program?” is going to result in an answer that is “Great.” Taking the time to think about what is important for you to be successful in biology results in more comprehensive questions and answers.
● “How big are classes in biology for freshman – seniors?”
● “How does faculty work with students who have interests in research?”
● “When are there opportunities to start research with faculty or on my own?”
● “What is the graduation rate for biology majors and of those who are going on to graduate work or directly into the workforce?”
See how these questions give you more information about what might be important to your success?
What should I do post-visit?
We believe firmly you should take some reflection time right after the campus visit. Find the coffee shop or a comfortable spot on the quad before you leave and jot down some notes about your experience, people you met, and feelings you had on campus. This will help trigger memories of the visit when it’s time to write an essay about that college or help you make your decisions on which schools make your application list.
For the most comprehensive college tour prep for your student and family, College Connectors can provide the best assistance. Contact us today at 952-303-3696 to learn more about our college planning services.