How to Make the Most of Your Campus Visit
School is almost out for the summer, but for students preparing to go off to college or university in the fall, there’s lots to do. Summer is a popular time for post-secondary institutions to run programs for high school students to tour the campus and facilities before they make their final decision on whether to accept an offer of enrollment. For those students who have already accepted an offer from a college or university, there are often also pre-orientation activities that will help you get a feel for your future school.
In order to make the most of your visit to a college or university campus, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Plan an Efficient Schedule
If you are still deciding on which school to attend, it’s a good idea to try to schedule multiple school visits within the same time period, such as visiting two or three schools over the course of a week. This way, you don’t have to take too long of a break from your summer job, and it will also be easier for the parent or guardian who will be making the visits with you.
Plan your schedule and make a list of the things you want to check out at each school, such as classrooms, student community centres, gym and sport facilities, labs, and points of interest around the campus. Have a general idea of where everything is and how to get from place to place, so you don’t waste time wandering around or getting lost. Most schools make maps readily available and run guided tours that can be arranged through the Admissions office or visitors centre.
Be Prepared and Dress Appropriately
Chances are you will be doing a lot of walking, much of it outside, so be sure to dress for the weather during your visit–especially comfortable shoes. While most school campuses will have some sort of convenience store and food services available, you shouldn’t rely on this. Pack yourself some snacks and a drink to bring along, and make note of any restaurants nearby where you can go for a full meal.
Strike Out On Your Own
Tours are great, and will ensure you see the most important things at your prospective college or university, but there’s something to be said for taking the initiative and exploring on your own. Some schools will allow you to sit in on classes or attend events on campus, which can help you get a feel for the professors and the student community. Keep in mind that you do still have to ask for permission for this; arrange it ahead of time with the campus admissions office or visitor’s centre, so that they can find the best things for you to check out. It’s also worthwhile to simply walk around the campus away from the tour group, as this will give you a better understanding of what attending will be like. If you can, talk to other students who have been enrolled for a year or two, and ask them about their experiences.
Take Notes to Help Make Your Decision
Lastly, use your phone or a notebook to write down your thoughts about the classes and campus, what you liked or didn’t like, and any interesting locations or activities the school offers. Especially if you are visiting more than one location close together, it’s useful to have your notes afterwards so you can compare schools and make your final acceptance decision.