What's the importance of campus visits in college admissions?

Getting a Feel for the School Campus

Visiting prospective colleges can be fun, but it's also a lot of work. There are certain critical pieces of information that you need to know before you decide which universities you'd consider attending, and the answers aren't always obvious.

To begin with, try getting a feel for the school. Take a tour of the college and get a firsthand look at the different buildings and departments. Make sure you visit the university during a week when classes are in session so you can get a taste of what life on the campus is actually like. Walk the grounds, or sit down on a bench and observe the students at lunch or hustling to the different buildings between classes. Can you see yourself there?

After you're done with the tour, sit down with an admissions representative to discuss the university. Find out what kind of programs the school offers and what it's looking for in its applicants.

Also, be sure to sit in on a class or two in a discipline you'd consider studying. How do the professors and students interact with one another? How many students are in the classes? What kind of teaching style are the professors employing? Would you feel comfortable in that learning environment?

Don't be afraid to ask the students themselves what they think of the school. Most of them shouldn't have a problem discussing their experiences with you, and their answers will most likely be quite candid.

Finally, eat a meal or two in the cafeteria. How palatable is the food? How many options do you have? Remember, this is the place you might call home for the next four years of your life, so you better make sure you can stomach the meals. It may sound like a trivial issue, but it's going to be pretty hard to study if you're hungry all the time.