First things first…
Before scheduling any meetings or visits, and considering which colleges or universities to visit make sure you do a few things first:
*Check with your guidance department to see if they allow you to take excused absence from school. Most of them have college visit days allowed (2-3)
*Make a list of schools that you are most interested in. Gather the following info: Address, Main phone #, Admissions department representative name and phone #, Overnight accommodations (if necessary), Make sure they carry the degrees that cover your career(s) choices, any needed information regarding campus tours and visits
Make sure your school matches your social, academic and career interests. Once you’ve selected 3-4 colleges, then you can begin the process of visiting and checking them out.
If you are just looking at schools, and not wanting to speak with anyone yet, just plan a CAMPUS VISIT. This allows you to check things out and get a feel for it too. If you are looking at colleges AWAY from home, where you will live, then I suggest you stay at the school overnight to get somewhat of a feel.
By following these steps will take you down the college visit journey in a much easier, informative and stress free way. Have fun when your there. Take the advice I gave you before about really understand your own personality, and see what college is a good fit. You’ll know when you walk around.
CAMPUS VISIT CHECKLIST:
- Take a campus tour (contact admissions office)
- Have an interview with an admissions officer (call admissions office)
- Get business cards and names of people you meet for future contacts (preferably admissions, financial aid person, teachers or faculty you meet, career/student services, student activities, etc.)
- Pick up financial aid forms (financial aid office) (www.fafsa.gov)
- Sit in on a class of a subject that interests you (don’t feel embarrassed or weird about this…its good advice!)
- Talk to a professor in your chosen major or in a subject that interests you (get his/her business card or email!) (See my posts @ http://wp.me/pAKTs-1M and @ http://wp.me/pAKTs-28 for ways to find your chosen career).
- Find out what types of classes would be taken with your chosen degree(s)
- Walk around the department. Peak in classes and classrooms
- Talk to coaches of sports in which you might participate
- Talk to leaders, advisors, or other staff involved in extracurricular activities (for example Student Activities Director, Student Government, Christian organizations, ethnically focused activities, etc.). Usually the Student Union or Student Services Building is where these are located.
- Talk to a student or counselor in the career center (Career Services office)
- Spend the night in a dorm
- Read the student newspaper (try to find other student publications—department newsletters, alternative newspapers, literary reviews)
- Scan bulletin boards and campus kiosks to see what day-to-day student life is like (go to student union, student services center, recreation center)
- Are there main gathering-areas? Quads outside? What are students doing? Do they seem or look happy?
- Eat in the cafeteria (yes eat their food. If you go here, you’ll have to)
- Ask students why they chose the college (most of the time, you will meet other student “ambassadors” that will guide you with this)
- Wander around the campus by yourself(look for kiosks, events, walk around the quad or main student center)
- Ask students what they hate about college
- Ask students what they love about college
- Browse the college bookstore (usually the same spot, or near the student union)
- Walk or drive around the community surrounding the campus (look for the stores, restaurants, fast food, bars, etc.)
- Find out what all goes on during the weekends
- Listen to the college’s radio station
- Try to see a dorm that you didn’t see on the tour
- Can you imagine yourself attending this college for four years?
TAKE NOTES: I know you might not this, but at least bring a bag and use that to put stuff in it.
Pick up anything that can help you to make the best decision.
Take pictures of anything and everything you want to.
Take a 1.folder, 2.pens, 3.pencils 4.your own contact info like address, email and telephone #, 5.resume (if you have one), 6.list of career choices (two years or four years?), 7.any past info you received about this school
DON’T MAKE YOUR PARENTS DO THIS! You have to start making decisions that will affect you directly. Sure mom and dad can help, but don’t make them do everything.
NEXT STEP: Now take everything you collected, including pictures and separate each school and make a pile. Go through the stuff you collected to recollect (remember back) on when you visited. Then make a list for each college titled:
What I liked
What I didn’t like
TALK TO THE P’S: Once you’ve compiled this list, then review each make your 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice. Discuss this with mom and dad and get their own personal opinion about this. Their decision might change everything, so be prepared. But communicate with them about your interests. Don’t surprise them with anything. DON’T GO BANKRUPT TO GO TO COLLEGE..just a piece of advice. 🙂
There are plenty of schools out there that you can choose from. You are lucky in that so many schools are making it easier for students to attend college as a FULL-TIME student (12 or more credit hours), but only go to class part of the time.
Many schools also provide BLENDED PROGRAMS in which you have to take certain classes at the actual institution in a classroom setting, and other classes you can take online.
Your Success is My Success,
Keith Lipke is a careers and college recruiter, coach, mentor and blogger at The Career Closet. His passion is to educate, inspire, and give hope to young people who need it upon their search for the right career and college.