Visiting colleges can be a daunting task, but don’t let the intimidation factor get the best of you! Just remember, every college student has been an incoming freshman, and probably had the same concerns. Take advantage of one-on-one time with faculty and current students and openly ask your burning questions—and if you find yourself blanking out, remember this college visit checklist created by Justine intern Liza, an on-the-college-hunt high school senior.
1. Ask yourself: Can I see myself as a student here?
Picture yourself living in the dorms and sharing classrooms with the students. If you can envision thriving in this environment, put this school on your list. If you don’t feel comfortable on the campus, then keep looking!
2. Ask a current student: How would you describe your relationship with your professors and classmates?
Don’t underestimate the power of a classroom setting. You can learn a lot more from your professors than just the subject they teach, and you can learn from your peers more than just what’s going on over the weekend. The relationships you establish in college can help you long after you’ve graduated.
3. What made you decide to attend school here?
You’ll get a variety of answers, but it’ll give you a better feel as to what kind of student the university draws. For example, did they come because the school offers a lot of financial aid? A great business school? Awesome athletics?
4. What is there to do off campus?
Sometimes you want to step outside your college’s bubble, but you want to makes sure that there’s something in the surrounding area that interests you. Is there a certain university district or area of town that you need to know about?
5. What’s the weather like here? What’s it like living on campus as a freshman?
It’s important to keep in mind that you’ll be walking outside a lot to get from class to class. You’d be surprised how a harsh winter can turn your dream school into your worst nightmare if you aren’t accustomed to colder climates.
6. What are the dorms like?
Which one is social and which one is more conducive for studying? Which dining hall always has the warm cookies?
7. Do you like the size of the school?
College enrollments can go from 2,000 undergrads to 20,000 undergrads or more. Get a feel for the size you prefer, and ask current students how they like the size of their school— you may be surprised by your own preference!
8. Is there a strong sense of community?
You want to take pride in your school, and you want your classmates to also. It would be a much more enjoyable experience if you went to school with people who had a common love for the school than a bunch of people who don’t really care about getting to know one another.
9. Ask an admission officer: Does the school offer what I want (or may want) to study?
Even if the school doesn’t offer exactly what you’d like to major in, don’t cross it off the list. There are some colleges where you can actually create your own major if they don’t already offer it!
10. Will I have the opportunity to study abroad? Where do most students go?
Studying abroad is an incredible experience—an opportunity not to be missed! Whether you think you’re interested now or not, keep it in the back of your mind when making a decision.