Touring/Visiting Schools

<p>what can i expect when going on college visits?</p>

<p>Lots of shiny buildings and dazzling info sessions about how great the school is.</p>

<p>what you should expect are students and faculty who want to talk to you about their experiences at the school. the tours are all the same, but you can find out a lot about the school by talking to the u/gs in the cafeteria, the library, the lawn. Draw up a list of questions you have about the school ahead of time, write them down, and drag them out when you corner a student or fac member. If more than one student brushes you off, that will tell you something. If one or two talk about their research opps, that will tell you something. If they chatter endlessly about football and parties, that will tell you something. Spend time at this. Eat in the cafeterias. Sit in on classes. Notice how clean the stairwells and classrooms are. Are the floors shiny or dull? Check out the health clinic. Do people say hello to or smile at you when you look them in the eye? When you narrow your list to a few favorites, spend overnights on campus and get out and see the school at night. You’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars at this school in the next four years: will you be happy and productive there? Don’t just expect things; engage the students and faculty and see what rocks you turn over.</p>

<p>Also - take lots of notes! After awhile schools start to run together. I made a pros/cons list after finishing my visit to each school. Even if I’d concluded by the end of the visit that I really wouldn’t want to go to that school, realizing what specifically I liked and didn’t like about it helped me figure out what direction to go next.</p>

<p>Usually there is an information session where an admission officer gives pretty general information about the school. If you have any questions about admissions/academics that have not been answered by the school’s website/other research you have done, it is a good time to ask. Then there is usually a tour given by a current student. The tour is a good place to ask any questions you might not want to ask an admissions officer (ex. social life, dorms, activities, experience with class sizes etc.). </p>

<p>And I agree with @nanotechnology‌ that it is good to take notes on positives/negatives for each school because the schools can easily all blend together after a while. We kept a file folder and for each school we were interested in after the visit which we put in all the information/pamplets they hand out as well as our notes. </p>

<p>I often think an important part of the school visits is to just look around and try to get the “vibe” of the school, see if you feel like you fit in with the other students etc. If you visit in the summer this is hard to do as most students are not on campus.</p>

<p>the pros/cons list is a great idea, thanks for the replies!</p>