College Selection Tips for Campus Visits

It can be a very daunting task trying to choose the college you want to attend. Brochures and online information are a great start, but they only give you the highlights of each college. The best way to choose a college, is like anything else: see it in person. There are some things you should check out with each college you visit.

*Dorms. It is important to take a tour of your potential dorm. It can put things into proper prospective seeing the way you might be living from day to day while attending that school. Seeing the other students and getting a general idea of how things work in the dorm can help you decide if that particular dorm is somewhere you want to spend the next two to four years of your life.

*Security. Check into what kind of campus security is being used at each college. Do they have surveillance cameras up in common areas? Are there guards both day and night? The ability to feel and secure is so important these days. Crime on college campuses is nothing new unfortunately, however how each campus handles it can make a huge difference.

*Course Options. One of the key things to inquire about is what type of degrees and courses are offered at each college you visit. If you are going after a particular field of study, you do not want to settle for classes that are irrelevant to that field.  

*Atmosphere. Spend some walking around getting a general feel for the campus. Ask yourself if you would feel comfortable walking around there. Does the campus have a “party” feel to it? Does it seem like a quiet place of true academics? Observe the students wandering around, do they seem happy, nervous or even indifferent? Remember, when you make your choice, you will live there full time for a few years. If you feel uncomfortable just walking around during the visit, chances are you will not be comfortable living there. Keep in mind that when you visit, you will probably be nervous but that is different than a general uncomfortable feeling of the campus itself.

*Cost. Tuition, books, course work materials and even housing are all things that you will have to consider while attending any college. Even if you have a scholarship, you will have basic living expenses to consider each week/month/year. College is not cheap and therefore cost is a factor you must think about.

*Ask Questions. The only dumb question is one that is not voiced out loud. Talk to people. Ask questions of students as well as school officials. Word of mouth is the best way to find out the reputation of a college. Do not be afraid or nervous to ask current students what they think of the school.

Choosing the right college is like choosing the right outfit; it has to be a good fit. Do not settle for the pretty pictures and smiling faces of brochures. Check out each college you are considering in person. To make the visit a successful one, there are some key things to keep in mind: check out the dorms, cost, and course options. These are a given, however, you should also check out the campus security and general atmosphere and of course ask questions.