Planning ahead – visiting colleges before the senior year
Ahh, halfway through the school year. Time to plan for visiting colleges!
Sophomores and juniors in high school should be visiting college already?!
Well, yes. In fact, it’s prime time. Bear in mind the senior year in high school is jam-packed with schoolwork, activities, maybe even making a little time for fun (one can hope), and (brace yourself) applying to colleges in the fall. It’s really a good idea to be visiting colleges, especially the top choice schools, ahead of the senior year juggernaut.
Why visit at all?
Ever notice how the brochures kind of look alike? The college could be in the middle of the desert and there will be a distinct “New England in the fall” theme, it seems – a collegiate look and feel. To really get a college, you need to walk through some buildings, talk to students and faculty, try the food, and see what the local area offers to freshmen on foot.
Please note, this is not meant to insinuate that colleges are misleading you. It’s just that brochures and websites are meant to put the best foot forward for the institution. Of course they are! For real – if a college marketing department paid for a piece showing a dining hall loading dock, you’d have good reason to question their spending habits. If you want a true feel for the college’s culture and community, you need to be on campus.
While visiting colleges takes time and money, consider it a solid investment in knowledge – research, if you will – and you definitely want to know as much as possible about a place that might be called “home” for four important years.
Where to start?
Uh oh, here comes the commercial.
Be on the lookout for some prospective applicant visit tips in a new post next week. And take a look at the features already here at Smart College Visit. It *is* what we do, after all.
- Ditch Those Preconceived Notions! – tips on visiting colleges in New York City
- 5 Tips for High School Students Interested in an Arts College – consider a college summer preview program as a way to explore majors and specific colleges
- Visiting College Campuses – a thorough checklist from Jeannie Borin,M.Ed, founder of College-Connections, a Professional College and Educational consulting firm.