Access to Education
Why it is important to visit colleges?
Mark Smith, Recent High School Graduate
Columbus Academy High School
Why visit colleges?
Going beyond the admission and marketing brochures
Go visit! We have a beautiful campus! Have you visited campus? Get a feel for the campus! These statements sound familiar. You probably have heard or listened to admissions representatives and/or guidance counselors make the above statements. But why is it really that important in seeing a college campus?
Do not judge a book by its cover
This cliché is really evident in visiting colleges. The campus visit is your opportunity to obtain a firsthand view of a college. An admissions brochure, viewbook, or website is designed to show you so much and provide you with limited information. To really get a true pulse and feel for the college, you need to walk around campus; you need to see the campus facilities and visit the residence halls.
You have questions and they have answers
A visit also empowers you with an opportunity to speak with current students, faculty, admissions and financial aid representatives. Further by speaking with current students this provides you with an opportunity to obtain pertinent information from them on the realities of campus life. Get the answers to the important questions that you may have about a college. Colleges in return should be able to answers questions, such as:
- What is the tuition cost for an academic year? How much is it for room and board? Does the college offer payment plan options?
- What is the campus meal plan like? How is the food?
- Is the campus diverse?
- What is the social scene like? What kinds of activities are planned on campus, especially in the residence halls?
- Are the residence halls spacious to accommodate students sufficiently?
- How many students are commuters/residents?
- Is this college a “good fit”? Can I grow intellectually?
- What is the average class size? What is the faculty/student ratio?
- Are most classes taught by professors or by adjunct instructors and/or teaching assistants?
Collect valuable information and take notes
Pick up any official school brochures you see, such as admissions and academic propaganda during your campus visit. By the way be sure to ask for business cards, too, so you will have a real human being to contact should you have follow-up questions. Moreover, look for the school newspaper and calendars; see what activities are planned and what speakers or lectures are coming to campus. The goal should be to determine the day-to-day energy and vibe of the campus environment.
Is this college right for you
Ultimately this should be the grand outcome from visiting colleges. Is this really the right fit and college for me. Can I see myself there for the next four years. Do you feel comfortable on campus? Do you feel you connected with students and faculty? Visiting and spending time on campus to determine if a school is a good match is a wise decision.