Choosing a college is like choosing your house in a British school of witchcraft and wizardry. It’s a big deal.

And you can do all the online research you want about your top-pick colleges, but there are just some things you can’t tell except by being there: what’s the college environment like? Will you like the other students? Feel comfortable there? Be excited every day to attend classes?

This is why a lot of students choose to visit schools in person. But how do you get the most out of your college visits?

Follow these 3 easy tips and tools to get on your way!

  1. Do your research. The more you know about a college, the more informed questions you will ask when you’re there.

Use our College Research Tool below as a guide. Take the question list you develop on your virtual tour.

  1. Ask questions on the virtual tour! Don’t forget to find out:
  • What are the most-popular and most-attended clubs and events on campus? This will give you an idea of how students like to spend their time and whether you’ll fit in.
  • Is it easy to get to nearby cities or towns? If that’s important to you.
  • How much time do students get to spend with professors? Are the classes large lectures or in smaller groups?
  1. Go off-tour looking for clues. You also need to pay attention to the intangibles — and you may have to go “off tour” to find these out. Ask yourself:
  • How many students are in the library in the middle of the day or on the weekends? Walk through. Ask what the main library’s hours are: is it open late only right before exams? (Students may not have to work that hard, then….) Or is it open late every night, and then 24-hours a day right before exams (maybe students at that school have to work a little too hard for your tastes….)
  • Can you pick a class to sit in on to see how seriously students are taking their work — are they paying attention, or texting…or sleeping (!)?
  • When you pass students walking around campus, are they talking and happy? Or are their heads down, looking angry, troubled or depressed?

Only you will know how a school “feels” and what matters to you. Pay attention to what’s important to you, and you’ll be sure to make the right decision!

Suggested Steps for Success

  • Do the research you can ahead of time, using our College Research Tool below as a guide.
  • Make a list of what you still don’t know, but is still important to you in making a decision.
  • When you visit, use the above checklists to help you.
  • Pay attention to the intangibles: do students look happy? How many are in the library studying in the middle of the day?

Need some help to stay on track with your college research?

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