Tips for a Successful Campus Visit

There is no substitute for seeing a college campus first-hand. Viewbooks and web sites can give you a lot of information and glossy photos, but meeting professors, and seeing classrooms and residence halls, and eating the food—that’s what gives you a true feeling of a college. A campus visit is informative any time, but it’s best to see the school while it’s in session and students are in classes. If you can only visit during the summer, on a weekend, or when the school is on a break, that’s okay—just be prepared to visualize what the school looks like with students and professors in the classrooms and residence halls. Read on for 13 Tips for a Successful Campus Visit!

  1. Make it official. 
    • Organize your visit and tour through the admission office.
    • Try to visit during an active college school day.
    • Try a special campus visit day.
  2. Take the lead!
    • Don’t let your parents be in charge. 
    • Ask your own questions!
    • Show your independence.
  3. Get organized and prepare.
    • Think about what you want out of this visit. What do you want to see? Who do you want to speak with?
    • Take photos with your phone.
    • Use “Campus Visit Notes” to detox your visit.
  4. Divide and conquer.
    • While you are visiting with current students or an admission officer, your parents should talk with the financial aid office.
  5. Eat in the dining hall.
    • Check out the food options.
    • View the students.
  6. Read the bulletin boards.
    • What’s printed there? What activities are happening on or near campus?
  7. Look lost!
    • Are students or staff helpful? Do people stop to help you find your way, or brush past? This can be useful in determining a campus's "friendly" atmosphere.
  8. Attend a class in your major, or a general education class.
    • Get a sense of class size.
    • Try to sit in on a class you would take as a senior.  How do students interact with the professor?  Is the professor interested in what students have to say?
    • Are classes interactive? Passive? How many students are  actively taking notes?
  9. Pick up a campus newspaper.
    • What are the big issues on campus?
    • What are students talking about?
  10. Talk with a professor if you are interested in a certain academic area.
    • Professors like to talk with incoming students about what they do, the research opportunities they offer, and where students are headed after graduation. They want to meet you.
  11. Look beyond the campus.
    • Check out the neighborhood. 
    • Ask current students how and where they spend their time off campus.
    • What is the favorite restaurant(s) or shopping areas that students frequent?
  12. Stay overnight.
    • College life happens during the evening hours as well as during classtime hours.  What is happening on campus at 10:00 pm?
  13. Meet with your admission counselor.
    • This is the person who will read your application, so if possible, meet them!
  14. Say Thank You!
    • Write a nice thank you note to your admission counselor, either on paper or via email. 

​Can't make it to campus? Try a Virtual College Visit!

You can do a virtual visit at campuses in the United States and around the world by watching campus tours on the college websites or on specific sites that offer a variety of campus tour videos: