The processs of deciding where to go to college is like an international flight: it’s long and it makes your back hurt. That said, you should at least consider visiting your top schools in order to get a feel for the overall vibe of the place. Here’s a few tips to help you make the most of it:
1. Explore. Spend time roaming college campuses in order to get a sense of their sizes and landscapes. For example, colleges in the city look much different than suburban ones, which tend to be greener. You should also pay attention to the overall architecture. Do you want a campus with a classic look or a modern one? It’s up to you, so take a good look around.
2. Take a class. If you have an idea of what you might like to study then drop in on a class so that you can get a sense of the classroom and learning environment. Professors usually don’t mind, and the academic aesthetic of different colleges are pretty distinct, so why not?
3. Talk. Most colleges are rife with students who are playing Frisbee on the lawn, sunbathing, or heading to class, so don’t be shy in striking up a conversation or two. Ask students what they like about their their classes, as well their campus life. Ask them what they don’t like. Ask yourself: are these students you could get along with?
4. Try the food. Since you’re moving out of the house, you have to fend for yourself when it comes to food, meaning you’ll be taking advantage of your college’s cafeteria. Therefore, while you’re on campus, stop in for a bite. If you can stomach the menu then that’s a good sign.
5. Visit again. To make sure a college is a perfect fit, visit more than once. Can you see yourself living there all year? Do you like it just as much on rainy days as you do when it’s sunny? If the answer is yes, then consider your college visit a success.