The Importance of the “In-Depth” College Visit

This week, my daughter and I are driving to one of her top two college choices for an “in-depth” college visit.  My idea of an in-depth visit usually includes sitting in on a class, looking at the specific requirements and 4-year plan for your student’s expected major, talking to students, and getting a complete tour of the building (or buildings) that house this area of study.

Typically, it is up to the student to contact the college to arrange an in-depth college visit.  Some schools will be more accommodating than others.  For example, very large public universities may only offer specific visit days and may only allow you to meet with an advisor who covers your student’s intended major.  Sometimes these very large schools only extend an offer to sit in on a class and/or meet current students in a particular major after your student has been offered admission.

In our case, this very large student reached out to my daughter after she submitted her application listing this intended major.  She had already been on two visits to the school and did a summer program there, but she had switched areas of interest since then.  They offered a meeting with a program advisor, sitting in on a class and lunch with a current student in the program.  Of course we were excited to take them up on it!

An in-depth college visit is important for narrowing down final school choices and really understanding if a school and program are a good fit.  Often, this can be done as part of an “Admitted Student Visit” in the Spring.  However, I think it is great to do these earlier if you can.  Spring gets really crazy with the pressure of final decisions, especially for students applying to 5-10 different schools.

In-Depth College Visit Tips

  1. Make arrangement for your student to sit in on a class in his/her intended major, if possible.
  2. Try to get time with a student or group of students in your student’s intended major – not a tour guide.
  3. Make sure you get to tour as many of the facilities used for your student’s intended major as possible.
  4. Get time with someone associated with the department so you can ask questions.
  5. If you have concerns regarding scholarships and financial aid, get an appointment with someone in the financial aid office.
  6. Take advantage of any “admitted student visit” programs that are offered.  The more exposure your student gets to a school, the easier it will be to make a final decision.

Help your student make the most informed decision possible on where to go to college.  In-depth visits are a great way for a student to assess whether he or she “belongs” in a particular school and program.

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