College Visits and Tours
You are not just choosing a college, you are choosing a home.
Before you spend the hours and money that are required for submitting your college applications to various schools, it is important that you consider visiting several different colleges. Just because an institution is a name-brand university or college does not mean that it will be the right fit for you. Factors like how far it is from your home in Phoenix, how cold the winter is, and how good the food is can all be part of a campus visit that are priceless. Going Ivy recommends that you visit multiple schools that are on your target list and get information with your own eyes, ears and feelings to determine the best colleges for you. Visiting a school is important for multiple reasons, and executing the visit correctly is vital so that you get more out of it.
Why Your Campus Visit is Important
You are not just choosing a college, you are choosing a home. The academics provided at this home are important, but so is much more. Taking a campus visit seriously will help you know what living on campus is like. In order to get a better understanding of a school’s culture and environment, you will want to talk to current students, see the housing, meet with admissions officers and go on the right tours. Many generic tours are led by current students and don’t visit every corner of campus. If you simply go on a tour without planning, you may not get a good idea of what the college is like or if it is the right fit for you.
Visiting in person also communicates to your top-choice school knows that you are interested in attending. The most elite institutions want to keep a high rate of yield, the percentage of applicants who choose to attend once they are accepted. When you submit applications that are thoughtful and express your interest in attendance by visiting the campus, asking relevant questions and applying early in the process, you may help the university to understand that you are highly interested in attending, making the admissions officer more likely to give you more consideration.
Due Diligence and the Campus Visit
Before planning your visit, Going Ivy can help you research everything that you can about the school and the experiences of people who attend there. While college brochures are helpful, they cannot give you the whole picture. Read the school’s social media pages to see how much it interacts with students. If a representative comes to your Phoenix high school, go to that information session. You’ll also want to read through the school’s blog posts and visit its website, taking notes of questions that you might have. The school’s Facebook or Twitter page might also give you an idea of different activities that might be scheduled for the time when you are planning to visit.
Give Yourself Plenty of Lead Time
It is important for you to schedule your visit well in advance. College tours and information sessions can fill up quickly. If you have a limited time frame when you can visit, you’ll want to make certain that you are able to grab an available slot. When you schedule your visit, be sure and ask for the name and email address of the admissions officer who is responsible for the Phoenix or Arizona region. This is the likeliest person to also be responsible for serving as the first reader of your application.
During Your Visit
If you have done the appropriate amount of research, you’ll likely have a number of questions in mind to ask. You’ll have a chance to ask the questions that are particular to you during the group information session. Take notes at each college that you visit. When you visit several campuses, the details can blend together in your mind. Your notes can help you to remember the different aspects of each college so that you can narrow your choices.
Some students visit a dozen schools in a week out east in order to get a better idea of what each might offer. Even schools in the same location can be so different, so understanding which one might be the best fit is important. If you plan to tour schools, try to visit no more than two in a day.
What to Do During Your Visit
Your visit will likely include a group information session followed by a student-led tour. Most campus visits last an hour. If you are able to do so, try to find out if you can sit in on a class during your visit. Many colleges will let you do this as long as you arrive before class starts, inform the professor and stay until it ends. It may also be smart to eat in the college’s dining hall so that you are able to observe how the current students interact with each other, and of course, what options there are in terms of cuisine. When you have planned your college visit well, you may be better prepared to answer why you want to attend the university of your choice. You can talk about specific examples when you answer that question (listed on many applications) from your campus visit. This may help your admission chances by better conveying your level of interest in attending.
Getting the Help That You Need
At Going Ivy, we are able to help you plan your campus visit so that you understand what it is really like to attend the school. Your counselor at Going Ivy will help you to get the most out of your visit. If you are not able to visit your colleges in person, we have Oculus Rift and 3D technology that you can use for a virtual visit to the school. While it is not as good as an in-person visit, it can help you to narrow down your choices. Our counselors can also talk about the experiences that they had when they attended their own schools. Contact us today to schedule your appointment so that you can learn more.
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