Launch Global Education
Sparks blog: College Visits, Part Two–The Visit

by Mr. Michael Wagner

In our previous blog post, we covered important steps in planning college visits and how to reserve a space on a campus tour. After a tour space is reserved, there is some planning that needs to take place to take full advantage of the tour and to learn as much as possible about the college.  Let’s look at the next steps in the planning process of going on a campus tour. Here are suggestions to ensure that the visit will be both valuable and rewarding.
students taking notes at a computer

Review the website

Take time to thoroughly review the website of the school. When I say review, I mean truly review it—read through the numerous tabs of the website. Take notes. Understand the overall feel of the university.

Concentrate on some of the main areas:

What is the mission and vision of the university?

What majors/minors does the school have?

What does a four-year curriculum look like?  Classes required, etc.

What support services are available?  Academic support, career services, etc.

What first year freshman programs or seminars are offered?

What extracurricular activities, such as clubs, organizations, etc. are offered?

students walking on campus

Confirm the tour details

After researching the information provided on the website, the focus can shift back to the tour itself. Here are some things to remember:

Confirm the date and start time of the tour (arrive early!)

Understand the directions for arrival:

Where is the admissions office?

Where is parking available for visiting campus for the tour?

What are the pre-registration procedures?

Where is the meeting area for the tour?

neon lit question mark

Preparing questions

The last important step in the planning process is to have a list of pre-planned questions. As the tour progresses you will no doubt learn the answers to some and be able to ask others. These are some questions you might consider along with other questions you have that are more specific to your wants and needs.

How would you describe a typical student?

What do students typically do on an average day and weekend?

What is student life like?

What percentage of students receive financial assistance directly from the college?

What is the typical class size in freshmen classes?

What is the student – professor ratio?

Are all classes taught by a professor or are some taught by graduate students?

What transportation services are available?

Can freshmen have cars on campus?

Is all housing offered on campus?

Is housing guaranteed for all four years?

What is the food/dining program and are there meal plans?

What support services are offered such as a writing center, mental health counseling services, career services, etc.?

What is safety and security like on campus?

And here is one of our favorite questions:

As a student, what will I miss out on by not attending this college?

Physically visiting the campus is one of the best ways to understand a college or university. It allows students and families to gain firsthand experience by seeing the college up close and live, especially if the tour is during a regular school day with students moving about.

I cannot over emphasize the importance of planning for each and every college tour. Proper preparation is the only way to gain the information needed to make comparisons from one school to another. Remember, you will be choosing the place that you will be spending the next four or so years of your life. Ultimately, your campus visit question should be: Can I picture myself as a student here, walking the grounds as a member of this college or university?

It is a big decision, plan accordingly.

Mr. Michael J. Wagner

Michael Wagner, MAED is a founder and the Knowledge Pilot for Launch Education.  Mr. Mike has assisted hundreds of students around the world on their college pathways.