5 Tips for Assessing & Comparing Your College Visits

Flickr user Andreas Cappell

The great thing about scheduling several college visits is that you get a first-hand look at the campuses beyond the glitzy brochures that only show you the best features of the campus.

The downside of visiting several campuses is that after a while everything begins to look fuzzy. Was it the 1st college that had better lab facilities or was it the 2nd or the 3rd? What about gym facilities? Which was the college that had the most extensive gym equipment?

It’s tough to keep track of all of these details and without the necessary information, it can be impossible to compare colleges and decide which one is best for you. Keeping these tips in mind will help.

Tip #1: Decide What’s Important To You Before You Visit Any College

If you visit a college campus without first deciding what is important to you, you run the risk of getting impressed by the wrong things. You may put a college right on top of your list because of its impressive gym facilities, but is that your number one priority? If microbiology is your chosen major, the lab facilities should take precedence. If you are planning on enrolling in a visual arts program, it’s the art facilities and faculty that should get priority.

Get your priorities right before you set out on your college visit so you can assess and compare the facilities that matter to you most. Think of the rest as a bonus.

Tip #2: Take Your Time At Each Campus

Don’t rush through your visit. When you rush through the campus you are more likely to miss out on some subtle but crucial detail. Take your time and observe everything carefully. Look around you. What kind of vibe do you pick up from the students and the campus environment? Does it feel peaceful and happy or chaotic and sullen? You can pick up a lot simply by observing the students milling around the campus.

Tip #3: Ask Questions

You want to know more about the internship or work for study opportunities, career resources, security arrangements, or anything else, don’t hesitate to ask. If you have a problem getting answers to your questions, you may want to think twice about whether you want to attend that college at all.

Tip #4: Networks With Students & Faculty

Strike up a conversation with other students in your campus tour group as well as the current college students and faculty. Get the contact details of a few select students and faculty that you think you would like to reach out to if you think of a question after you get back home or maybe just hear somebody else’s thoughts and perspectives.

Tip # 5: Take Notes

Take notes at every campus visit. Write down details about anything and everything that matters to you—what you saw, what you heard, what you thought at the time and how you felt about something. After all your visits are done and you are comparing notes, these are the things that will help you when you are assessing the different colleges.

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