Unlocking Success: Essential Tips for Visiting Colleges Like a Pro
Visiting colleges is an essential step in the college admission process. It’s your opportunity to get a feel for each campus, learn about the academic programs and extracurricular activities offered, and meet with current students and faculty. But with so many colleges to choose from and so much information to take in, it can take time to figure out where to start.
This blog post shares essential tips for visiting colleges like a pro. Whether just starting your college search or getting ready for an upcoming college open house, continue reading for tips on making your college visits successful.
Tips to Prep for Your Campus Visit
1) Define your goals.
Have you figured out what you want from your college experience? Are you seeking smaller classes, a close-knit campus community, or specific programs? Identifying what’s most important to you before visiting colleges will ensure a successful college experience.
Related: Read our blog post ‘Deciding between Colleges: 7 Key Factors besides Academics’ for more insights.
2) Make a list of questions to ask.
It’s a good idea to arrive at your college tour with a list of questions to ask. This will help you get all the necessary information and ensure you don’t forget to ask any crucial questions. Having your questions written down lets you quickly refer to them and ensure you cover everything you want to know.
Some examples of questions you could ask your tour guide include
- “What is the social scene like?”
- “What does a typical day look like here?”
- “How large are the classes typically?”
- “How does class registration work?”
- “What clubs and organizations are available on campus?”
- “Is there study abroad or exchange programs for students?”
- “What recreational facilities are available for students?”
3) Get familiar with the college campus.
Before you visit colleges, please familiarize yourself with the campuses you plan to visit. This will help you maximize your visit by letting you know about the locations of specific buildings you would like to prioritize visiting, such as dorm buildings, dining halls, food locations, and classrooms. This is particularly useful if you are touring a larger campus.
Extra Tip: Most college and university websites have a campus map, such as the printable map offered by St. John’s University.
4) Plan to dress accordingly.
When you attend an in-person visit, it is essential to dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable clothes. Remember that college tours usually involve a lot of walking, much of which is outdoors. Before you head out, make sure you check the weather forecast and dress accordingly.
Doing so ensures you have a pleasant tour experience and that your opinion of the university isn’t negatively impacted due to poor weather conditions.
Tips for the Day of Your College Visit
5) Take notes.
Visiting a college campus is an exciting opportunity to gather valuable information, experience the atmosphere, and have your queries answered. Consider taking notes on your phone or notepad to make the most of your visit. These notes will be an asset when comparing different colleges.
6) Capture your visit.
Remember to take photos or videos of the campus that you’re touring! If you visit multiple colleges, it can be easy to forget how each campus looks.
By capturing different areas of the campus, you can look back on each experience and remember the unique elements. Attending a school you admire will make you feel more comfortable and enjoy your time there.
7) Get to know the student life.
Choosing the right college is crucial, and student life plays a significant role. Finding a university that offers activities that align with your interests and passions is essential. During your college visits, you can explore the different aspects of student life available on campus to make an informed decision.
Here are some examples of student life to explore on a campus tour:
- Extracurricular activities: Ask your tour guide about the different clubs and organizations available on campus. You can also visit the student center or website to learn more about the other activities available.
- Athletics: Many colleges offer a variety of sports teams and intramural leagues. You can attend a sporting event or practice to see what being a student-athlete is like.
- Social life: Ask your tour guide about the social events on campus. You can also visit the campus calendar to see what's happening during your visit.
- Diversity and inclusion: Ask your tour guide about the college's diversity and inclusion efforts. You can also visit resource centers such as the campus multicultural center or LGBTQ+ resource center to learn more.
8) Connect with current students.
Students already attending the university will give you the best information. Asking them questions and getting their take on the university can provide you with an unbiased point of view and can be invaluable in helping you decide whether or not it's the right school for you. Maybe you will even make a new friend!
An Inside Look at Visiting St. John’s University: a Student’s Perspective
“In March of my senior year in high school, my mom and I toured St. John’s University’s Queens, NY, campus. I loved the campus; it has beautiful architecture and greenery and is the perfect size. After the tour, I felt confident about attending St. John’s in the fall. The excellent student tour guides who showed me around campus and answered my questions gave me peace of mind. I am thankful for taking that tour; I was trying to choose between a few universities I wanted to attend. However, the tour made me choose St. John’s—and I am still happy today!”
—Madison Coombs, Public Relations Major, The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies.
If you want to know more about St. John’s University, check out these resources:
Experience the vibrant St. John’s campus life.
St. John’s University is more than just a place to learn. It’s a vibrant community where students thrive in the classroom and beyond. On a campus tour, you experience everything St. John’s offers, from world-class academic programs to lively, diverse student life.