6 Steps to Get the Most Out of a Campus Visit

Why plan a visit?

Checking out a college campus near you is a great idea, even if you don't know what you want to major in or what type of college you want to go to. College visits can give you a sense of what might be important to you in a college and what college life is all about. Here are six suggestions for planning your visit and getting the most out of it.

1. Decide where and how

Find out what colleges are nearby and think about planning a visit. There may be programs at your school that arrange group trips to colleges. You could also get a group of friends together and visit the campus by car or public transportation. A family trip is another option, and it allows you to involve your family in the process.

2. Prepare for your visit

Before you set out, get a map of the college campus (the college's website usually has one) and pick out places of interest. Call the college's admission office to schedule a guided tour of the campus or to ask about the best times to visit.

3. Take your own tour

Just wandering around the campus on your own or with friends can be the best way to get a feel for what a college is like.

4. Explore college facilities

Ask a student where the best place to eat is and have lunch there. Visit the library. Check out the gym or the theater. Ask an admission officer if you can tour a dorm and a classroom. Find the spots on campus where students gather; hang out there and get a feel for the character of the college.

5. Make connections

Talk to current students. Ask the students at the next table or sitting on a nearby bench what they like best about the college or what they like best about being in college in general.

6. Make notes

During your visit, write down some notes about your experience. What did you see that excited you? Do you feel you could explore the library for days? Can you picture yourself on stage in the theater? Do you want to get a closer look at the equipment in a lab? Are there aspects of the college that you don't like? If so, what are they?

What now?

When you visit a college, just relax, observe and have fun. There's no pressure.

To find the best time for your visit, read When to Visit.

For help planning your visit, read Campus Visits: Before You Go.