College Visit Confidential

Katie Carter, Staff Writer

It’s that time of year again, the time where juniors and seniors begin touring prospective colleges. But too many times students become overwhelmed with the new environments, new people and the transition from high school to college. Students what to make the right decision but often don’t know where exactly to begin. Just thinking about college visits are a step in the right direction.

“You are going to get a feel for the atmosphere of all of the students and see how much the students are like you,” Keller guidance counselor Summer Martin said.

College visits are important to the applying process because the online websites will show a selective presentation of the campus. Going to the campus allows students to experience student life first hand. Many students base their decision on college visits. So it is never too early to start visiting colleges.

“After your sophomore year, during the summer would be great time to start,” Martin said. “But definitely your junior year if you are not already.”

Or if you have an older sibling or relative, go visit their college to get a sense, which even if you aren’t considering it you can use it to compare to other colleges. You want to try to visit around three colleges. Even if you already know which college you want to attend, it isn’t a bad idea to visit it twice and visit others as well.

“You need another school that is something you are considering, because a visit might change your mind. And then something you aren’t considering at all, because you have to have something to compare the other schools to,” Martin said.

When planning all of your visits, make sure you make the correct preparations for it. Juniors are allowed one day for college visits and seniors are allotted two. As long as you turn in a letter of some sort proving that you were on an official campus tour.

“Even though [the school] doesn’t want you missing school, [the counselors] suggest you go on a school day, so you can see what a campus is like when school is really in session.”

A college visit allows you to make an accurate assessment of the daily life of students to see if that lifestyle and the academics suit you. Also, make sure the college offers your intended major and any majors you have considered so if you change majors you won’t have to change schools.

“Look for what is important to you like major, religious affiliation, location, size. Look for everything that can affect the school and what is best for them.”

No student is alike and the type of school that best suits you is different from others so you have to see if it feels right. It is important to ask current students and get their perspective on it.

“Find students and ask them what they love and they hate about the school because that will give you a bigger idea of why they chose to come to that school and what the school needs to work on.”

School newspapers also show what is happening around campus and provide student views on current campus events. It is a top priority to visit dorms, cafeterias and libraries. If you get a chance to look in a classroom make note of its use of technology and if it is up to your speed. One thing that often slips students’ mind is checking out parking.

“You need to find out how much it is going to cost to park there and how easy it is park there.”

The beginning of the college admissions is a crucial and stressful time in students’ lives and college visits play an important role in it. It can be a smooth visit if you prepare in advance and make it a point to look for yourself in the campus, the education and the people.