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Home Academics College Counseling College Visits

College Visits

By Gen Wright

College visits are one of the most important steps in the college search and selection process. They are the only way to get a true feel for a campus and find out whether it is the right fit for the student. College visits help students to find out about the admissions policies, programs, and campus culture.

Here are five reasons why college visits are important for college admissions:
1. College visits are a great way to check out potential schools and light a motivational fire under prospective applicants. College visits can get students initially excited about going to college. They will also help students understand what the college admissions process is all about and what is required of them in order to be successful. There is also no substitute for a personal visit to help students gain a better focus for their applications.

2. The more colleges students see, the easier it will be for them to know what they like and don't like about different kinds of schools. College visits are a critical part of coming up with a balanced list of schools to apply to. They also make it easier for students to make informed college decisions based on what they have personally observed.

3. 
A college visit demonstrates to a school that students are interested enough to come and find out whether the college is right for them. This is something that schools consider when they are making college admissions decisions. They want to know what kind of contact students have had with their school. Have they met with a college representative, had an off-campus interview, visited with someone at a college fair or, most important, come for a college visit?

4.
Students should not believe everything they see in a view book or on a college website. Colleges are pros at marketing themselves with glossy photos and flashy DVDs. A college visit helps students find out about any unexpected surprises that might not be obvious without a college tour. Sometimes the surrounding area is not what students thought it would be, or safety is a real concern. These issues are only evident when one takes time to tour the campus.

5.
College visits help students to make up their mind when it is time to make a final college decision. Hopefully, students have written down the pros and cons of the schools they have seen and are able to weigh these as they finalize their college choice. It is most important that students choose a school that is the right fit for them. It is not the name of the school, but the experience a student has as an undergraduate that will contribute the most to a successful future.

On a college visit, students should take the time to stand in the middle of a campus and look around and ask, "Could I see myself as a student here? Is this where I would like to spend the next four years of my life?" Their answers will be very revealing and hopefully lead them to the school that is right for them.


CRMS College Visit Days
Students are granted three days along with two weekend days that they may miss classes to visit colleges with the permission of their teachers and the college counselor for the purpose of seeing the colleges they are considering. The expectation is that a student will go on a campus tour, attend an information session, have an interview if possible, and visit a class if feasible. We encourage students to use these days wisely. 

Arranging a Visit
To arrange a visit, first consult the college's Admissions Office website to learn about specific visit procedures. It is best to make arrangements for college visits at least two weeks in advance to be assured space on the tour and in the information session. Moreover, a student may be able to schedule an interview with an admissions officer and ask for a class visit to be arranged. Most schools are open Monday through Friday each week except during holiday periods. Often there are group information sessions two or three times a day presented by an admissions officer. This is often followed by a campus tour given by a current student. The college counselor is happy to offer suggestions about organizing trips, as we can frequently make suggestions about people you should meet or talk with or alumni you could visit at colleges.

Interviews
Many schools, generally the smaller liberal arts schools, offer individual interviews. Students who contact a college about visiting should find out if there is an opportunity to meet with an admissions counselor for an interview.

  • Regional  Admissions representatives travel to a city and schedule appointments, usually in a hotel suite.
  • Alumni  Alumni conduct interviews in their home region for their alma mater. They are trained representatives, but they do not make admission decisions.
  • On-campus Normally conducted by an Admissions Officer, though sometimes by a current student (senior). Interviews are usually done individually, but some colleges have group interviews. During group interviews, it is noted how students interact within the group—do they dominate, do they participate appropriately, or are they mute?
  • Phone/Skype If a college requires an interview and distance/time does not permit one of the above options, a college may offer the opportunity to have a phone or Skype interview.
  • Here are some tips:
    • Schedule an appointment well in advance of your trip. Many colleges are booked up a month ahead of time, particularly during school vacation times. Don’t “drop in” and expect to be seen by an admissions officer. Generally, someone will be able to speak with you to answer some questions but won’t give an interview without prior arrangements.
    • Arrive with time to spare; if you will be late, CALL.
    • Dress comfortably and appropriately. Boys should wear khakis and a collared shirt. You do not have to wear a jacket and tie, but think about how you are portraying yourself. What you wear says a lot about who you are. If you are visiting an art school, a funky outfit will be much more acceptable than if you are visiting a more conservative college.
    • Do not wear ripped or shabby clothing, tee shirts, flip flops, etc. It is not necessary to be really dressed up, but you should be neat, clean, and a class act.
    • No gum!
    • Greet the interviewer with a smile and firm handshake. Show them you are glad to be there and aren’t just there because your parents dragged you. Admissions people are really nice people; they wouldn’t be there if they didn’t care.
    • The term “interview” is rather misleading these days. While it used to be a time when students were “grilled,” it is much more humane now. It is usually viewed as a conversation…the sharing of information. While they won’t ask you what you are going to do to contribute to world peace, they will expect you to be able to talk about what is important to you and why you are considering their institution.
    • Do not answer a question with just a “Yes” or “No”—elaborate. For example, if you are asked about a unique program you have done, or a job you have held, or a class you liked, don’t just say “It was great, really fun and I learned a lot”—tell them why it was great and what you learned. Be prepared for questions such as:
        Who are you? Which accomplishments, activities, people are most important to you? What and who made you into the person you are today? What interests you? What are your passions?
        Where are you going? What are your goals? What are your dreams? How do you see yourself developing over the next five/ten years? What course of study are you thinking you’ll pursue?
        Why this college? What is it about the confluence of your goals, your interests, your talents, and your personal style that brings you to consider this college? What do you know about this college that tells you it would be a good match for you? How will this college help you reach your goals?

    • Make a list of questions that you cannot find the answers to by simply picking up their view book. Show you have put some thought and effort into it. It is okay to pull out your list of questions and ask them; it shows you are prepared and organized. Ask questions about topics such as scholarships, interesting research going on, hot issues on campus, what the interviewer would say is the greatest area in need of change.
    • Know your scores and grades. It is very frustrating, and a big red flag, to an admissions person to hear a student say “I don’t remember.” It is tempting to embellish a bit, but keep in mind that they will see your transcript and scores if you apply. Be honest!!
    • The interview is a good time to let them know of any extenuating circumstances…not excuses, but explanations. If there was a death, divorce, or health issue that had a negative impact on your academic performance, let them know.
    • Usually you will meet with the admissions officer for about 20-30 minutes. Be respectful of your parents, as they are a part of this process & decision too. Even if you are tired of traveling with them or think they are asking embarrassing questions, refrain from the “Oh, Mom’s” or rolling your eyes. You don’t want the interviewer to get a bad impression of you.
    • It is rare that an interview can hurt your chances for admission, but occasionally it can. If you know you will be absolutely frozen with fear, then it may be best not to have an interview. Be yourself, have humility, yet be sure to tell about the things most important to you. Be truthful.
    • Get their business card and write a thank you note!

    The Tour
    The tour is also the best time to ask questions of someone who is both knowledgeable and candid. Guides will encourage families to do so, as they do not enjoy providing a one-hour monologue. They are obviously pleased with the school (or they would not be giving the tour), but they are invariably honest about the drawbacks along with the positives. The best way to get the inside information is to stay up front with the tour guide so that you will have the opportunity to hear unscripted information.

    Move beyond the facts—besides specific, factual information, seek out your student guide's personal opinions. How does he/she feel walking around the campus at night? How about the surrounding neighborhood in all four directions? What is the quality of faculty advising? Can an independent feel comfortable on a campus with a significant percentage of students in fraternities and sororities? How is the student turnout and spirit at sporting events? Is the student body diverse or does one type dominate? What happens on the campus on the weekends? Does it empty out or is there plenty to do? Can freshmen have cars and are cars really necessary? What outstanding professors or courses might the tour guide recommend regardless of a student's major?

     

    Academics

    Home Academics College Counseling College Visits

    College Visits

    By Gen Wright

    College visits are one of the most important steps in the college search and selection process. They are the only way to get a true feel for a campus and find out whether it is the right fit for the student. College visits help students to find out about the admissions policies, programs, and campus culture.

    Here are five reasons why college visits are important for college admissions:
    1. College visits are a great way to check out potential schools and light a motivational fire under prospective applicants. College visits can get students initially excited about going to college. They will also help students understand what the college admissions process is all about and what is required of them in order to be successful. There is also no substitute for a personal visit to help students gain a better focus for their applications.

    2. The more colleges students see, the easier it will be for them to know what they like and don't like about different kinds of schools. College visits are a critical part of coming up with a balanced list of schools to apply to. They also make it easier for students to make informed college decisions based on what they have personally observed.

    3. 
    A college visit demonstrates to a school that students are interested enough to come and find out whether the college is right for them. This is something that schools consider when they are making college admissions decisions. They want to know what kind of contact students have had with their school. Have they met with a college representative, had an off-campus interview, visited with someone at a college fair or, most important, come for a college visit?

    4.
    Students should not believe everything they see in a view book or on a college website. Colleges are pros at marketing themselves with glossy photos and flashy DVDs. A college visit helps students find out about any unexpected surprises that might not be obvious without a college tour. Sometimes the surrounding area is not what students thought it would be, or safety is a real concern. These issues are only evident when one takes time to tour the campus.

    5.
    College visits help students to make up their mind when it is time to make a final college decision. Hopefully, students have written down the pros and cons of the schools they have seen and are able to weigh these as they finalize their college choice. It is most important that students choose a school that is the right fit for them. It is not the name of the school, but the experience a student has as an undergraduate that will contribute the most to a successful future.

    On a college visit, students should take the time to stand in the middle of a campus and look around and ask, "Could I see myself as a student here? Is this where I would like to spend the next four years of my life?" Their answers will be very revealing and hopefully lead them to the school that is right for them.


    CRMS College Visit Days
    Students are granted three days along with two weekend days that they may miss classes to visit colleges with the permission of their teachers and the college counselor for the purpose of seeing the colleges they are considering. The expectation is that a student will go on a campus tour, attend an information session, have an interview if possible, and visit a class if feasible. We encourage students to use these days wisely. 

    Arranging a Visit
    To arrange a visit, first consult the college's Admissions Office website to learn about specific visit procedures. It is best to make arrangements for college visits at least two weeks in advance to be assured space on the tour and in the information session. Moreover, a student may be able to schedule an interview with an admissions officer and ask for a class visit to be arranged. Most schools are open Monday through Friday each week except during holiday periods. Often there are group information sessions two or three times a day presented by an admissions officer. This is often followed by a campus tour given by a current student. The college counselor is happy to offer suggestions about organizing trips, as we can frequently make suggestions about people you should meet or talk with or alumni you could visit at colleges.

    Interviews
    Many schools, generally the smaller liberal arts schools, offer individual interviews. Students who contact a college about visiting should find out if there is an opportunity to meet with an admissions counselor for an interview.

  • Regional  Admissions representatives travel to a city and schedule appointments, usually in a hotel suite.
  • Alumni  Alumni conduct interviews in their home region for their alma mater. They are trained representatives, but they do not make admission decisions.
  • On-campus Normally conducted by an Admissions Officer, though sometimes by a current student (senior). Interviews are usually done individually, but some colleges have group interviews. During group interviews, it is noted how students interact within the group—do they dominate, do they participate appropriately, or are they mute?
  • Phone/Skype If a college requires an interview and distance/time does not permit one of the above options, a college may offer the opportunity to have a phone or Skype interview.
  • Here are some tips:
    • Schedule an appointment well in advance of your trip. Many colleges are booked up a month ahead of time, particularly during school vacation times. Don’t “drop in” and expect to be seen by an admissions officer. Generally, someone will be able to speak with you to answer some questions but won’t give an interview without prior arrangements.
    • Arrive with time to spare; if you will be late, CALL.
    • Dress comfortably and appropriately. Boys should wear khakis and a collared shirt. You do not have to wear a jacket and tie, but think about how you are portraying yourself. What you wear says a lot about who you are. If you are visiting an art school, a funky outfit will be much more acceptable than if you are visiting a more conservative college.
    • Do not wear ripped or shabby clothing, tee shirts, flip flops, etc. It is not necessary to be really dressed up, but you should be neat, clean, and a class act.
    • No gum!
    • Greet the interviewer with a smile and firm handshake. Show them you are glad to be there and aren’t just there because your parents dragged you. Admissions people are really nice people; they wouldn’t be there if they didn’t care.
    • The term “interview” is rather misleading these days. While it used to be a time when students were “grilled,” it is much more humane now. It is usually viewed as a conversation…the sharing of information. While they won’t ask you what you are going to do to contribute to world peace, they will expect you to be able to talk about what is important to you and why you are considering their institution.
    • Do not answer a question with just a “Yes” or “No”—elaborate. For example, if you are asked about a unique program you have done, or a job you have held, or a class you liked, don’t just say “It was great, really fun and I learned a lot”—tell them why it was great and what you learned. Be prepared for questions such as:
        Who are you? Which accomplishments, activities, people are most important to you? What and who made you into the person you are today? What interests you? What are your passions?
        Where are you going? What are your goals? What are your dreams? How do you see yourself developing over the next five/ten years? What course of study are you thinking you’ll pursue?
        Why this college? What is it about the confluence of your goals, your interests, your talents, and your personal style that brings you to consider this college? What do you know about this college that tells you it would be a good match for you? How will this college help you reach your goals?

    • Make a list of questions that you cannot find the answers to by simply picking up their view book. Show you have put some thought and effort into it. It is okay to pull out your list of questions and ask them; it shows you are prepared and organized. Ask questions about topics such as scholarships, interesting research going on, hot issues on campus, what the interviewer would say is the greatest area in need of change.
    • Know your scores and grades. It is very frustrating, and a big red flag, to an admissions person to hear a student say “I don’t remember.” It is tempting to embellish a bit, but keep in mind that they will see your transcript and scores if you apply. Be honest!!
    • The interview is a good time to let them know of any extenuating circumstances…not excuses, but explanations. If there was a death, divorce, or health issue that had a negative impact on your academic performance, let them know.
    • Usually you will meet with the admissions officer for about 20-30 minutes. Be respectful of your parents, as they are a part of this process & decision too. Even if you are tired of traveling with them or think they are asking embarrassing questions, refrain from the “Oh, Mom’s” or rolling your eyes. You don’t want the interviewer to get a bad impression of you.
    • It is rare that an interview can hurt your chances for admission, but occasionally it can. If you know you will be absolutely frozen with fear, then it may be best not to have an interview. Be yourself, have humility, yet be sure to tell about the things most important to you. Be truthful.
    • Get their business card and write a thank you note!

    The Tour
    The tour is also the best time to ask questions of someone who is both knowledgeable and candid. Guides will encourage families to do so, as they do not enjoy providing a one-hour monologue. They are obviously pleased with the school (or they would not be giving the tour), but they are invariably honest about the drawbacks along with the positives. The best way to get the inside information is to stay up front with the tour guide so that you will have the opportunity to hear unscripted information.

    Move beyond the facts—besides specific, factual information, seek out your student guide's personal opinions. How does he/she feel walking around the campus at night? How about the surrounding neighborhood in all four directions? What is the quality of faculty advising? Can an independent feel comfortable on a campus with a significant percentage of students in fraternities and sororities? How is the student turnout and spirit at sporting events? Is the student body diverse or does one type dominate? What happens on the campus on the weekends? Does it empty out or is there plenty to do? Can freshmen have cars and are cars really necessary? What outstanding professors or courses might the tour guide recommend regardless of a student's major?

     

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