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The Dreaded College Visit

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You’ve done all the research. You’ve pored over the school’s website, studiously writing down tuition costs, scholarship opportunities, athletic questions, and possible majors. Yet, all of this can become obsolete upon visiting the campus. College visits are crucial in deciding which college to go to. It may sound cheesy, but you need to know that it’s the one. Recently, I took a college visit to two colleges in the Iowa-Illinois area. One was a private college, the other a public university. There were both very different environments even though they offered the same majors and cost about the same amount of money. Choosing a college is hard and visiting the campus is one way to narrow your search.

When visiting a campus, you want to ask as many questions as possible- try to ask questions that may be more specific or weren’t answered in your web findings. This is your time to ask about the area surrounding the college. Where are the good places to eat? Where do most of the upperclassmen stay? What events happen in the community that you might be interested in? This is your time to actually see what a dorm looks like (and whether you could survive dorm life or not). This your time to really understand what 20,000 students looks like. This is your time to ask about classrooms. This is your time to find out about time-honored traditions. This is your time to explore.

Don’t only ask questions. Actually go out and try a local restaurant or sample the food in the dining hall. We all know that the quality of food can be a make-or-break deal. Stay overnight in a dorm and truly understand the dorm life. Go to a sporting event to see how much school spirit there is. Talk to a department head in your intended major to see what things and opportunities are available. Don’t feel limited in a college visit- you want to understand what it’ll be like to live there for the next four years of your life.

Here’s some extra questions that may come in handy and help you make a decision of yay or nay.

1. What percentage of classes are taught by a teaching assistant?
2. What is the average size of a freshmen class?
3. What percentage of freshmen get the classes they want?
4. How easy is it to change your major?
5. Are classes more lecture based or discussion based?
6. How much freedom is there in choosing your courses?
7. How many students study abroad and does the school provide some incentive?
8. Where have students interned in the last few years?
9. What are some popular extracurricular activities?
10. How long do you have to live on campus? 11. Do I need to bring a printer?
12. What percent of students leave the campus on the weekends?
13. Do I need my car?

There are these and even more questions to ask. But rest assured, your tour guides and visit planners want to answer your questions and they’re super friendly. They understand that it’s pretty nerve-wracking deciding where you want to be. Don’t stress, but also don’t put off your college visits. Try to do them as often as you can and hopefully you’ll narrow down your search. Good luck visiting!

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “The Dreaded College Visit”

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The Dreaded College Visit