“It just felt right.”

College students often use these four words to explain how they chose a particular college. While it’s not always possible, the best way to understand if a school is the right fit for you is to experience the campus and community by visiting. These visits can come in many forms—attending events, participating in information sessions, enrolling in summer programs—but let’s focus on the campus tour.

5 Tips for Making the Most of a College Visit

  1. Customize your visit. Focus on those areas of academic and campus life that matter most to you, and be sure to check out the spaces (i.e. dining hall, campus center) and people you would most engage with as a student.
  1. Be on a mission for information. Ask questions—lots of them. Ask tour guides, faculty you meet, counselors that greet you and, if possible, students along the way. People are your best resources, so use them.
  1. Go off the beaten path. If there are things that aren’t covered on the tour—athletic center, art studio, etc.—stop by on your own while on campus. If it’s important to you, see it.
  1. Keep score. Make a list of five to 10 questions you’ll ask at each college you visit, such as: What can you tell me about your biology department? What do students do on the weekends? This makes for a better way to compare the colleges on your list.
  1. Take notes and photos. When you get back to your car post-visit, jot down three things you liked and disliked about the experience/campus/etc. You’ll capture a real-time, honest, gut reaction that you can refer back to later on.

Download Getting Started, a beginner’s guide to the college search

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