How to Make the Most of Your College Visit
When it comes to college, one size does not fit all, and the search for the right fit can be stressful. We want to minimize your stress by telling you how to make the most of your college visit. Our first recommendation is to visit. According to a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education, a campus visit ranks in the top three most influential factors in the college selection process.
According to our own survey of students who were admitted to the University of Rhode Island, 62% found the campus visit to be an important factor in their admission decision. In fact, 71% of the students who visited our campus rated the tour as either very good or excellent. While we hope you decide to visit us, we want you to get the most out of all your campus visits.
- Plan ahead and then double check—visit the school’s website and look for their campus tour schedule. Note the times and location for the tours and look for information about parking. Then, before you leave home, check back online to ensure that the schedule and/or location has not changed. Bring a notebook with you to take notes about each campus visit—after several campus visits, you may want to refer to your notes to recall details that made an impression (good or bad) while you were on each campus.
- When online (or by calling the Office of Admission), determine whether the college offers more than just a tour. For example, we offer “Information Sessions” daily. You can attend either before or after your campus tour. The advantage of these sessions is that you can ask questions of a member of the Admission staff and be sure you know everything you need to about the application process, scholarships, and deadlines.
- If you know your intended major, check that department’s webpage to see if they offer any additional information sessions. For example, our College of Pharmacy conducts special sessions on a regular basis. If you don’t see anything scheduled, you can usually find the email address of the department chairperson online. You should contact someone from that department in advance to inquire as to whether or not they can meet with you while you are on campus.
- Talk to your tour guide! Remember, tour guides are current students who can answer questions about campus life. Ask them where you should grab lunch on campus, what they do on the weekends, and anything else you may be wondering. It wasn’t that long ago that they were in your shoes. You can get to know our tour guides in advance by checking out their profiles. We also strongly encourage you to find opportunities to speak to other students you see on campus, perhaps in the bookstore or even when walking to your car. There is no substitute for a candid conversation with a current student.
- Even if you have a friend who attends the school you are visiting, take the tour anyway. While your friend can provide that critical insider’s view of residence hall life and much more, the tours show you (and your parents) other resources. For example, you’ll see which buildings house important student services such as financial aid, health services, and the library. The Information Sessions will also provide details on the application process, academic programs, and more that may have changed since your friend enrolled. It’s important to ask the experts.
- Eat! While there may be chain restaurants and other eateries near the campus you are visiting, take your visit as a great opportunity to sample the campus cuisine. At URI, you can go to Hope Commons, which serves guests as well as students living in residence halls, or check out our Ram’s Den, which also welcomes visitors to campus.
- Come prepared. When visiting a college website, look for a campus video, virtual tour, or student life page along with the academic programs. The more you know before arriving, the more prepared you will be when provided with the opportunity to ask questions in person. If you saw something online that sparked your interest, you can ask questions about it of the Admission staff or your tour guide.
- Dress for comfort—and for the weather. Campus tours are generally walking tours that highlight locations all over the campus. Our tours last about 90 minutes and are offered rain, snow, or shine. If you are coming on a date that you cannot change and the forecast looks bleak, bring an umbrella, coat, and comfortable shoes.
- Be realistic. During the college search process, many families plan to visit more than one school on a given day. All too often, however, these plans are foiled by traffic, weather, poor directions, and insufficient time. Check the college websites for directions and be sure that if you are using a traditional or online map service, you know where you’re going. The directions provided by the school are usually more detailed and direct.
- Look for special events. Most colleges have fall open houses that include more than the daily information sessions and campus tours. For example, our fall open houses include a speaking program, University Fair (with representatives from academic departments and student services), and full campus tours. Most open house programs require advanced registration. Start looking for dates online as early as August. If you are unable to attend, we recommend a traditional campus tour and information session as discussed above.
We hope you find this helpful! If you would like any additional information about the University of Rhode Island, please give us a call at (401) 874-7000 or send us and email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best wishes for a successful college search!