with your favorite social networking sites.
You’ve decided that it’s time to start visiting college campuses.
Unfortunately, campus tours can be hit or miss, depending on the day
you visit, the weather and your tour guide. So don’t let the tour make
or break your decision on where to apply or attend school. Here are
seven other things you should do before making a final choice.
1. Sit in on a class.
If you can, sit in on a lecture that you may take your freshman year,
or visit a class in the department in which you plan to major. How big
is the class? Is a professor or teaching assistant leading the lecture?
Do they simply lecture, or make use of visuals and the chalkboards? Do
students seem to largely pay attention, or is everyone nodding off? Be
aware that freshman level and general education courses tend to be the
largest on campus.
2. Eat in the dining hall.
You’re going to be eating a lot of meals in the dining halls your
first few years, especially if you live in the dorms. Check out the
selection. Are vegetarian dishes served daily? Is there a salad bar,
sandwich center or other healthy option available? Feel the ‘vibe’ of
the dining hall. How long will you have to wait in line? Can you take
food out of the dining hall if you’re in a rush? If your time is tight
between lectures, you don’t want to have to skip lunch all together
because you don’t have time to get your food and eat.3. Stay overnight with a student if you can. Maybe
you have a friend or neighbor living in the dorms. On some campuses,
the admissions office or student organizations may host a “day on
campus” for potential students, giving you an opportunity to stay
overnight in the dorms. You’ll get to experience the dorm environment
first-hand, and see if it lives up to (or exceeds) what you expected. 4. Walk around campus and town. As
you walk, try to get a feel for the general atmosphere and attitude of
the city. What kind of events and activities are available both
on-campus and off? Are there restaurants, grocery stores, drugstores
and shopping within a reasonable distance? If you’re going to live here
for four or more years, you want to be happy in your surroundings. 5. Talk to a current student. Tour
guides and campus staff and faculty want you to choose their college.
Actual students will give you straight answers to the tough questions
you ask, and can tell you how their actual campus experience compares to
what they expected when they first came to school.6. Visit the union or commons, check out campus ‘hot spots’ and pick up a copy of the campus newspaper. You’ll get a better idea of the student body demographic and see what students care about and are interested in.7. Visit one of the libraries. What is the book and academic journal selection like? Are there meeting rooms for group projects
and “quiet areas” for studying? Does the staff seem friendly and
helpful? Can you see yourself studying for a final there? If there are
multiple libraries on campus, visit the ones that are closest to your
dorms or your classes.
How are you going to make the most of your campus visit?
Photo: Mw12310, Wikimedia Commons, public domain