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The value of campus visits: Questions are answered and connections are made

The value of campus visits: Questions are answered and connections are made | The value of campus visits: Questions are answered and connections are made | SimplyGreater.orgOne of the most exciting parts in the college-search process is that first step – onto a real college campus. Exploring the college environment puts you that much closer to selecting the institution that will be your new home. During short campus visits (typically one to three hours long), make the moments count and take advantage of the time provided to learn about the institution, as well as the possible experiences that await. This visit should be a great opportunity to find out if the college is a good fit for you – and vice versa. As you walk through the student commons, stroll across the quad, checks out the residential halls and sit in on a college class and embark upon this exploratory tour, consider asking the following questions of those who are likely encountered along the way.

Ask the tour ambassador:

  • Campus Culture: What activities, organizations and student life experiences create the campus culture? Is there a diverse student population?
  • Transition from high school to college: What advice would you offer in preparation for the high school-to-college transition? What does the institution do to help students make this transition a smooth one?
  • The Decision: What made you choose this college? What is your most memorable experience thus far?

Ask the admissions counselor:

  • What is the cost of attendance, when taking into account tuition, room, board, fees and other expected expenses?
  • What scholarships, grants and other forms of financial aid are available? What are the merit- and non-merit based requirements to be eligible for financial aid?
  • What are the application deadlines for admission and scholarships?
  • What documents (and any guidelines on such) are required for admission and scholarships?

Ask a faculty member:

  • Outcomes: What do graduates from your degree/major/program go on to accomplish? What careers do they tend to have?
  • Class environment: What is the typical class size and what resources are available to help students achieve academic success? (Ask specifically about faculty office hours, tutoring and writing centers)
  • Planning for success: How many years does it take to complete the desired program? What additional education opportunities are available – research, conferences, internships, study abroad?

Overall, remember that college not only is about earning a quality education, but also gaining a truly educational experience. Many times students tell me that the reason they chose a college was because of the campus visit and because they ‘felt a connection’. Do not rely on the digital world alone to find a college fit – let your step onto campus be a decisive tool in your college search.


Stephanie Johnson is the Interim Director of Admissions for Columbia College. She oversees admissions counselors and helps students from across the country through the transition process into college.

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Why Campus Visits? Questions are answered and connections are made
Answer questions on financial aid, scholarships and other college issues on a campus tour. Schedule a visit now!
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