Do not go around visiting colleges blind. Make a diverse list of safety, target, and reach schools, if you are confused on what these terms mean perhaps even refer to our previous post here. Having a good spread of schools will work wonders in ensuring you get into at least one college you could envision yourself studying at. Try and compile a list based on things above the usual superficial facts such as ranking, location and reputation. Try and find colleges that offer strong departments in the academic areas that interest you, or maybe campuses that have great connections with universities abroad if traveling and studying is something that appeals to you. Once you have thought in more detail on why each college has made your list, think of some questions or queries you can ask once you arrive for the visit.
There are many things you can be doing to make efficient use of your college visits. Take time to walk around the campus on your own and imagine what it would actually be like to study as a student there. This is also a great time to think objectively and reflect about your own opinions of the college away from distractions such as those you are visiting with. It is also important to try and find ways to interact with students and academics at the school. They will often give you a more detailed and personal perspective of the college that will not usually be found on a generic campus tour. Try and visit the dining halls, email professors with questions and drop in on classes if possible.
It is crucial to make some quick notes after the visit while certain elements are still fresh in your mind. Important things to take notes on are things you liked, disliked, and aspects of the college you would like to learn more about. Often times college visits blend together so it’s great if you have some notes to reference back to later. Think about some of the more specific details in conversations you had with your tour guide, an admissions officer, or academic, these are the details when you come to write your supplement essays about why you should be admitted to this college that will make you stand out among a crowded, competitive applicant field.