High school students during their senior year, sometimes junior year, begin to look at colleges all over the United States and even around the world. Schooling of some sort has become important to proceed in the occupational world. While there is the occasional Mark Zuckerburg or the uncommon Steve Jobs; for most in the workforce college is needed to support a family and make a living wage. The search for colleges is stressful; it's not a decision made on a whim. One thing students can do, which can help them with the decision is a college visit. Colleges encourage prospective students to participate in a college visit and this can often be the deciding factor for students.
However, one of the things you need to know is college visits are not cheap. A study on Forbes states college visits can climb into the thousands of dollars after rental cars, airfare, and places to stay. How many members of family travel on the visit can also add to the costs of travel.
To get the most out of the money you spend on visits research is important. Hannah Stevens, a full-time student who participated in many visits, mentions before you even visit a college you should be informed about it. Collect information then compare what you found with the reality when visiting the college. If things don’t line up with the information you collected that could be a red flag. Stevens accentuates the fact that you should research the college you are going to so you don't waste money on a visit.
Furthermore, Stevens mentions a way to get the best picture of student life on campus is to participate in events. Take advantage of dorm room stays with students; let them mentor you in your stay. Stevens mentions school events allow you to see the community on the campus. She mentions that checking out the classrooms, sitting in on a class allows you to see teaching style; classroom versus lecture hall. The overnight allows you to get to know what it’s like as a student in the dorms.
Based on my personal experience, finding as many people as possible in the areas that you are interested in is important. Talk to them and get information, ask about the things that you would like to study as well as the extracurriculars you would like to do.
Another thing that parents can do while on the visit is to talk with admissions and the business office, they can help parents understand the ins and outs of tuition and fees at the college and create great contacts for the future especially if students are living far from home. It is also a great time to get a true picture of onto financing, food plans, and housing on campus. It’s always easier to start those things on site where there is someone to help you.
Overall, the information that you collect, and the more people you can talk to the better. For both parents and students, college visits are informative and will help you better understand how a college can suit your needs. I recommend it to all students and parents. Remember research is encouraged and preparing for college visits will help. Good luck to all of you who are looking for colleges.