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15 essential things to do before your first college visit

Deciding on the right college is a big task, one that will have a significant impact on your future. Campus visits are an important part of the college selection process.

You can learn so much more when you can see where you might be spending the next few years. It is essential to do a little prep work before you go. After all, you want to get the most out of your visit and find your perfect fit.

Learn more about the different ways you can visit Central Michigan University and experience campus.

Visit information


Here are 15 things to consider before your visit to ensure you put your best foot forward.

1. Research the college

Study the institution, read the college website, read brochures, and learn about the programs it offers. Understanding their culture and environment is essential. If you have any questions, make sure to write them down before your visit.

2. Schedule your campus tour

Reach out to the admissions office, book a campus tour, and gather information about the tour. It's not just about getting around campus, but also meeting faculty and students.

Most schools offer different types of tours, including tours for transfer students, enhanced visits and even multicultural visit programs. Choose the times to visit that works best for you. 

3. Plan your visit

Ask yourself what you want to get out of the campus visit. This is your chance to put yourself in the shoes of a student attending the university. Coordinate with the admissions team to make the most out of your campus visit.

Plan to visit during the academic year to observe students interacting. Ask about attending a lecture, or even spending the night in a residence hall. 

4. Know your schedule

Most colleges will give you a schedule of what to expect on your college visit. Prepare to make the most of the day. You should have a reasonable sense of what you will be doing and who you will meet.

Arrive early and carve out some free time to explore. Pretend you were a student on the campus – what would you want to know about or experience? Sit in on a class.

5. Dress appropriately

You’ll be walking for a good part of your tour. Wear comfortable clothing and non-slip footwear for the terrain.

Additionally, it's advisable to consider the institution's dress code – note what they recommend for visitors. You may meet with professors or other staff, so this is a good opportunity to impress them!

6. Ask questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions on your information session. This is a chance for you, the student, and your family, to get a real feel for college life.

Engage with other students, administrators, and faculty during your visit and ask any questions you may have. This will give you a chance to learn about the school, culture, and student life.

7. Try the food

Food is a major part of the college experience. You will likely be eating on campus quite a bit, especially your first few years.

Eating in the dining hall is an excellent way to find out about the food service and meals. Ask your tour guide questions about accommodations for special diets like gluten-free and vegan. 

8. Explore the campus environment

Take note of your surroundings. Walk around, check how the school environment looks – facilities, classrooms, social amenities, and living areas. Are they well-kept?

How far is it to amenities like the campus recreation center or to parking lots? Put yourself in the shoes of a student who is living on campus and see what it will be like. 

9. Check out the college’s surrounding community

Successful students take time to get away from the campus bubble and experience the larger world. Save some time to get off campus and explore the area surrounding the college.

The vibe and local amenities can affect your experience while pursuing your degree. Are there local restaurants? What about coffee shops where you can study? 

10. Stay open to windows of interaction

Take note of opportunities for being part of the school’s programs, conferences, and extracurricular activities. Ask questions on your tour about activities and getting involved. Many campus tours include the opportunity talk to a current student – make the most of this time. 

11. Write down your thoughts

Bring a pad or notebook to jot down your thoughts after the visit. Reflection helps you discern between schools meaningfully. Plan on visiting multiple schools and compare your experiences on each visit.

Keep a journal of your campus visit experiences and reflect on what you thought of each campus. Consider the pros and cons. This can help you better understand which campus is a good fit for you. 

12. Consider your goals

Align your campus visit with your long-term academic goals. This gives you a greater sense of purpose when narrowing your college admissions search options.

Before you go on your tour, consider a few questions: What do you want to major in? What campus life activities do you want to participate in? Knowing these specifics can help you be more informed on your college tour. 

13. Research accommodations

Accessibility is an important factor in your college decision. Ask questions about how the campus accommodates mental health and physical needs.

Good college campuses work to make their campus accessible for all. This will also give you more information about the responsiveness of the college to specific needs on campus.  

14. Consider your finances

Cost is likely to be the biggest determining factor on the college you select. The campus visit is a good time to get into the details of tuition, scholarships, grants, and loans.

Tuition fees and other expenses vary from institution to institution. Talk to the financial aid office, discuss your financial position, and try to get the picture of the costs.

15. Visit multiple campuses

Once you have a list of favorite institutions, try to visit a few. It's a good idea to compare them based on your goals and needs.

Comparing helps you clarify your decision-making process, and ultimately pick the best option. The campus visit is one of your most powerful tools in the college selection process. Don’t be afraid to use it early and often. 

Your college search process is crucial. Handle it with utmost care. Planning beforehand helps you get the most out of your campus visit and makes an informed choice when obtaining a degree.

Gather as much information as possible before your visit. Remember to jot down your observations, take pictures, and ask questions. 

Don't rush as each visit will bring new discoveries, and don't hesitate to track your surroundings outside the college. Making the right choice is not always easy. When you balance your academic and emotional goals, you are sure to enjoy a fulfilling college career.

Ready to start visiting campuses? Make sure Central Michigan University is on your list. Plan your visit today. We can’t wait to see you. 

Blog: All Things Higher Ed posted | Last Modified: | Author: by University Communications | Categories: University Communications
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