Planning a college visit? Here are some things to consider

campus tour

For new students, choosing the right college can be both fun and stressful. There are many options available to assist in the decision-making process. With social media being as big as it is, learning about a particular campus and connecting with current students is easier than ever. While social media definitely has its place, the more traditional College Visit is still providing a strong option. To alleviate some unnecessary stress I have complied a list of things to consider on your next college visit.
Leave your Parents at Home
This is the first and most important aspect of the college visit. As a student, you need to experience the campus as if you were attending. You need to learn your way around, network, and get a feel for the campus lifestyle. Let the visit act as a transition period. For many, going off to college and being away from parents is a new experience. A one day visit alone will help you better prepare for the upcoming semesters alone. For some this is not possible due to age i.e. high school juniors. If this is the case and parents must accompany, try splitting the day. As a student, explore the campus alone in the morning while your parents explore the surrounding location. Have lunch together then switch. This way you each can experience both the campus and surrounding city individually.
Plan Ahead
You are visiting a college, without your parents. Now what? Ease into the visit by taking a tour. Many campuses offer walking tours. Just make sure you're taking the new student tour and not the general public tour. You need to see the amenities and offerings of the campus. The history of the campus and architecture style usually associated with general public tours can be saved for another day. Try taking the tour first thing in the morning. This way you can become familiar with the layout. Then later in the day you can backtrack and spend more time in areas that interest you. Another important planning tip involves the weeks prior-to your visit. Call ahead and request a parking pass and meal card be mailed to you. This way you can avoid long lines and parking tickets.
Explore the Area
While a majority of your time will be spent on campus, the area around the campus is just as important. Are local coffee shops, shopping centers and libraries within walking distance? Is there a reliable public transit system? How safe is the surrounding area? I suggest spending the morning on campus then spending some time in the afternoon exploring the surrounding area. If you will be working while attending college, this is a great time to pick up job applications. You can take them home with you, fill them out, then mail them back. Be sure to include a short note explaining that you will be moving to the area soon and would like to set up an interview when you arrive.
Plan a Second Visit
If you are leaning heavily towards one college, and it's affordable, plan a second visit. The first visit can be overwhelming. A second visit will both reinforce the reasons you want to attend and reveal overlooked aspects of your first visit. You may find something you disagree with or something new you fall in love with. If you do plan a second visit, space the visits out. Don't go on a Monday then follow it up with a second visit on Tuesday. Allow the first visit to sink in. Read over materials you collected and look into the amenities offered. Try visiting in a different season. If your first visit was in the spring, plan a second for mid fall. Colleges look, feel and work at a different pace depending on the season.
Choosing a college is just as important as choosing what you want to study. Take your time, do your research and consider these tips. I wish you luck in choosing a college and congratulate you on deciding to continue your education.
Robert Dillman is the founder and CEO of Graditude Education Services, LLC and runs day to day operations for http://graditude.com. Robert welcomes comments relating to his articles, or discussions regarding education and business. Visit http://graditude.com or contact Robert directly: robert@graditude.com
For new students, choosing the right college can be both fun and stressful. There are many options available to assist in the decision-making process. With social media being as big as it is, learning about a particular campus and connecting with current students is easier than ever. While social media definitely has its place, the more traditional College Visit is still providing a strong option. To alleviate some unnecessary stress I have complied a list of things to consider on your next college visit.

Leave your parents at home
This is the first and most important aspect of the college visit. As a student, you need to experience the campus as if you were attending. You need to learn your way around, network, and get a feel for the campus lifestyle. Let the visit act as a transition period. For many, going off to college and being away from parents is a new experience. A one day visit alone will help you better prepare for the upcoming semesters alone. For some this is not possible due to age i.e. high school juniors. If this is the case and parents must accompany, try splitting the day. As a student, explore the campus alone in the morning while your parents explore the surrounding location. Have lunch together then switch. This way you each can experience both the campus and surrounding city individually.

Plan ahead
You are visiting a college, without your parents. Now what? Ease into the visit by taking a tour. Many campuses offer walking tours. Just make sure you're taking the new student tour and not the general public tour. You need to see the amenities and offerings of the campus. The history of the campus and architecture style usually associated with general public tours can be saved for another day. Try taking the tour first thing in the morning. This way you can become familiar with the layout. Then later in the day you can backtrack and spend more time in areas that interest you. Another important planning tip involves the weeks prior-to your visit. Call ahead and request a parking pass and meal card be mailed to you. This way you can avoid long lines and parking tickets.

Explore the area
While a majority of your time will be spent on campus, the area around the campus is just as important. Are local coffee shops, shopping centers and libraries within walking distance? Is there a reliable public transit system? How safe is the surrounding area? I suggest spending the morning on campus then spending some time in the afternoon exploring the surrounding area. If you will be working while attending college, this is a great time to pick up job applications. You can take them home with you, fill them out, then mail them back. Be sure to include a short note explaining that you will be moving to the area soon and would like to set up an interview when you arrive.

Plan a second visit
If you are leaning heavily towards one college, and it's affordable, plan a second visit. The first visit can be overwhelming. A second visit will both reinforce the reasons you want to attend and reveal overlooked aspects of your first visit. You may find something you disagree with or something new you fall in love with. If you do plan a second visit, space the visits out. Don't go on a Monday then follow it up with a second visit on Tuesday. Allow the first visit to sink in. Read over materials you collected and look into the amenities offered. Try visiting in a different season. If your first visit was in the spring, plan a second for mid fall. Colleges look, feel and work at a different pace depending on the season.

Choosing a college is just as important as choosing what you want to study. Take your time, do your research and consider these tips. I wish you luck in choosing a college and congratulate you on deciding to continue your education.

Robert Dillman is the founder and CEO of Graditude Education Services, LLC and runs day to day operations for http://graditude.com. Robert welcomes comments relating to his articles, or discussions regarding education and business. Visit http://graditude.com or contact Robert directly: robert@graditude.com

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