Visiting Colleges: What to Do and How to Plan your Trip!

With summer coming up and great weather, it’s a prime time to visit colleges if you haven’t yet! Keep in mind that colleges may have a different feel during the year while students are there, but visiting them during the summer is your best shot at fitting multiple visits in.

Thinking about the college process can be incredibly stressful especially since there’s no  single “right way” to do it. In high school you have homework with a set due date, set assignment dates, set events, etc. But when you’re looking for colleges there isn’t all that structure, and it’s often overwhelming thinking about where to begin. Here are some tips to give some structure to the whole college visiting process and make it seem less stressful. After all, it’s important to not lose sight of the fact that going to college is incredibly exciting and a chance for you to grow as a student, a friend, and ultimately as a person.

Where to Look

  • There are so many incredible colleges but it’s easy to get swayed by the reputations of certain colleges. I suggest writing down a list of all the things that make you most excited and happy. This may be that biology project you’re working on or maybe just your love of making homemade pasta. It doesn’t matter if the things you’re writing down aren’t academic specific, this list just gives you a chance to recognize the things in your life that you’re truly passionate about.
  • When you’re searching for colleges online or in one of those ginormous college guidebooks, remember to take the time to look past all the statistics about ranking and look for schools that have those elements that you’re passionate about. Maybe the college doesn’t have a pasta making class, but perhaps it has a highly regarded Italian exchange program or something like that.

At the College

  • Obviously there are a lot of factors in planning your college visiting so I’ll just list some of my top tips once you arrive on a college campus aside from just taking a tour:
    • Walk Around the Campus Alone: I like to take some time at each campus to just walk around alone and envision what it would be like to be a student there. This is also a nice chance to get away from your siblings or parents or whoever else you’re visiting with and have some time to really focus on your own thoughts about the college.
    • Go to a Dining Hall! First of all, dining halls often have unlimited ice cream ☺. But dining halls are also a great chance to watch current students interacting and get a sense for the “feel” of the school!
    • Talk to Current Students! College tours can be great but they are often going off a script. Talking to “real” students on the campus can be a great way to get a more honest feel for what the Campus is like and ask more specific questions. Ask them about their thoughts!
    • Don’t Try To Do Too Much!! Make sure you’ve allotted enough time at each school so that you don’t feel stressed or rushed while you’re there

After Each Visit

  • Write down some quick notes about the college: things you liked, disliked, programs you want to learn more about, etc. Also, if you have any photos from the visit include those too. Often times college visits blend together so it’s great if you have some notes to reference back to later.

Most importantly remember that going to college is amazing!! As daunting as the process may seem now just take it one step at a time and get excited about the opportunity to pursue all those things that you’re so passionate about!! ☺ ☺ ☺

This blog post was written by Grace Eysenbach

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