If you are ready to explore the campuses of some of your top college picks, you want to keep a number of things in mind when it comes to how you should explore those universities. You could show up last minute and have a look around, but that may be a waste of time and money. There is a good chance that you are spending a good money on going on those campus tours – what with all the airfare – so you want to be sure that you have a plan of action. Ideally, you want to get the full experience: from what the dorms feel and look like, to what a class lecture would be like. Just like you would complete a full review before purchasing a car or renting an apartment, you want to look at a college from every angle. Here are five things you should do during a college campus visit.
First and foremost, you want to take a tour of the college campus. Ideally, you want to schedule the tour ahead of time. Usually, there is a student board with representatives that take hopefuls on a tour of the campus at certain times of the year – usually in the springtime. Getting a tour of the campus will give you a brief lay of the land, and it will give you a chance to ask questions.
It is critical that you get an unbiased sense of what life is like on a certain campus. The best way to do this is to survey random students on campus. You don’t need to hound them or take all of their time, but there is a good chance that some students will really open up with some important insight, so it’s always worth asking.
If you have a specific major in mind (it’s okay if you don’t already), you may want to take a look at that major department. If you are getting your major in journalism, you may want to take a look at the college newspaper. If you are interested in science, you may want to check out the labs.
On top of checking out your major program, you may want to sit in on a lecture. This is called auditing. You can usually sit at the back of the class and just listen – you don’t need to join in. Auditing a class is perfectly acceptable and it will give you a sense of the size of the class, and the quality of the professors. If you want to get USC’s masters in communication, auditing a class can be a great way to see if this is the major you want to explore.
On top of everything, you want to explore the dormitories. As a new student, you will probably be living in the dorms for much of your time during the first few years at college. Checking out the dorms will give you a sense of what the living quarters are like. If the dorms are terrible, but you love the campus, you may want to think about living off campus. In the end, though, if you don’t like the dorms, it may be a deal breaker.