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Logistical Tips for Your College Visit

By Cliff & Sami Kramon
Independent College Advisors

A little preparation can go a long way toward avoiding potential headaches and allowing you to enjoy your college visits. Here are a few tips aimed at helping you get the most out of your college visit.

  1. When planning a visit, call ahead to schedule a student guided campus tour. Walking around unescorted permits only seeing a group of buildings. The tour fills in the details that give each school its humanity. Many smaller schools will record your name when you schedule a tour. The benefit is that they will often hold up a tour for a few minutes if you are running late. Parking near Admissions may be a problem, so allow extra time to find a legal space. And don't assume the tour always leaves from the Admissions Office.

  2. A number of colleges provide an information session by an admissions officer either before or after a tour. Inquire about this when you first contact the Admissions Office. Telephone personnel do not always remember to volunteer this information. Should you have an interview, try to schedule it after the tour and information session, so you can speak knowledgeably about their school with relevant observations and questions.

  3. The colleges are anxious to accommodate prospective students. If the student has a special request such as meeting a department chairperson, conferring with a coach, sitting in on classes, or staying overnight on campus, the Admissions Office will make the necessary arrangements provided they have sufficient advance notice.

  4. Assume it is going to take longer to find the campus and park than a map suggests. In particular, if the student is to be interviewed, he or she wants to arrive relaxed, not frazzled.

  5. Make sure to drive around the outskirts of the campus before starting back. This could be the student's home for the next four years; the surrounding neighborhood can make a difference. If the school is in a small town, is there a major city within a convenient drive? If not, does that really matter to the student?

  6. The whole family should wear comfortable shoes. You will probably be doing a lot of walking both up hills and up stairs. Dress neatly. If the student is scheduled for an interview, he/she should dress for the interviewer, not for oneself. It is human nature to judge people by their appearance, so an opinion is forming about the applicant before a word is said. If parents accompany the applicant, the student should introduce them to the interviewer before the interview begins.

  7. Don't forget to pick up a course catalog. Colleges are trying to control costs, so catalogs are not automatically mailed with applications and viewbooks. While you may not have much interest in the catalog initially, it will be a valuable resource in researching a major or deciding on a particular school.


About the Author

Cliff and Sami Kramon founded Collegiate Choice Walking Tours Videos (www.collegiatechoice.com). They have videotaped the student-guided campus tour at over 350 colleges, but they are the first to admit nothing beats visiting a college in person.