Why Visit Colleges?

Event: For Parents: How to Plan a College Visit

A key part of deciding which college to go to is finding a good fit. And a great way to get more information is to visit the colleges in person.

Virtual tours are also a great way to learn more about a campus. It can help you determine whether a college is the right place for you and prepare you for a campus visit at your convenience.

A Firsthand View

Why are college visits important? A campus visit is your opportunity to get a firsthand view of a college. A college catalog, brochure, or website can only show you so much. To really get a feel for the college, you need to walk around the quad, sit in on a class, and visit the dorms.

Get Answers to Your Questions.

A visit also lets you talk to students, faculty, financial aid staff, and admissions officers. You can get answers to important questions like these:

  • What’s the campus meal plan like? How is the food? What are the options?
  • What's the social scene like? What kinds of activities are available?
  • Is there plenty of dorm space or a housing crunch?
  • How many students are commuters? How many are campus residents?
  • Is there a health center? What mental health resources are available?
  • What career development resources are available? What student employment opportunities are available?

Use this checklist for a campus visit to remind yourself of everything you want to do once you reach your destination.

Your family members can also participate in the visit and any information sessions. They can help you decide which colleges to apply to and which one to attend.

Benefits of a Campus Visit.

Visiting a college is a great starting point. Pick up any official college material you see on the campus tour, such as brochures and financial aid forms.

Don't forget to get business cards, too, so you'll have a real, live contact if you have a question about admissions or financial aid. Do college visits help with admissions? Yes, these visits allow you to speak to the admissions officer handling your application.

Student newspapers and activity calendars give you a sense of what campus life is really like. Check out bulletin boards to see what bands are coming to the campus, what parties are advertised, what internships are posted, and what the day-to-day energy of the place is like.

Get Ready to Decide.

It’s your decision. Heed your intuition. Do you feel comfortable walking around campus? Do you feel at home? Do you click with the students and faculty? Is this what you imagined college to be like? Spending time on campus helps you determine whether a college is a good fit.

Adapted from Campus Visits and College Interviews by Zola Dincin Schneider.