A college visit is a great way to get the future brainbox ticking away. It gives you a feel for a new place of study, puts you face to face with your potential tutors and teachers, and best of all, breaks the ice that one might feel before going to somewhere unfamiliar, making the eventual arrival a more familiar and welcoming one.
But how can you get the most out of your visit, and optimize the trip as a whole? In this article we will discuss the 10 best ways to get the most out of a college visit.
You might want to grab a pad and pen, because you will want to remember these when you are doing the rounds, walking the halls of your prospective next institute of education.
You will be amazed at how much you can listen, nod your head and think you’ve remembered something, only to walk away and realize that you haven’t. It’s frustrating.
So, the best way to circumnavigate that probability is of course to take notes with whatever method/device you have, whether with a pad and pen, or a touch screen, when things sound important; worst case scenario, you’ve scribbled something down that’s not so memorable, and at best, you’ve retained a helpful use of information that you can use to make bigger decisions down the road, such as an official application.
Addendum: You never know when a piece of information will be of use to you down the line. Never miss an opportunity to make a record of something.
Introduce Yourself To The Experts
It’s good to talk to the experts and tutors, not just because they know a thing or two about the subjects they teach, but because it’s great to know who will be teaching you. The old adage of how it’s not the subject, but who is teaching it, has a general degree of truth to it.
The other half of that is how passionate you are about that subject, but the two facts operate in tandem, and when your personal passion is coupled with the right teacher, this can go a long way in informing your decision.
Explore The Grounds
This might seem like an obvious one, but there are more positives in exploring a campus than simply finding your way around. Because different locations bring positive feelings for different people, and everybody is different, for instance, you might be more inspired by a modern building structure than a vintage aesthetic, or vice versa.
Exploring a particular institution gives you a feel for it, and while you do, you should ask yourself those vital questions: can you see yourself walking these halls every day? Does the general vibe feel like the right one for you? If you get a good feeling, you’ll know that it’s a good contender. All in all, this seems like a small aspect, but it makes a world of difference in the long run.
Ask The Questions That Genuinely Interest You
This is something that you are sure to already have heard before, but try and think beyond what you have already heard. Don’t just ask the questions that you feel you are supposed to ask. Instead, dig into your desires and find the questions that genuinely interest you.
College is about many things, but one of those is to pursue diligently the subjects that you may only have touched upon in middle school and high school. It is important to know that your personal needs are taken care of, and asking authentic questions is the key to this.
Keep An Open Mind
While visiting colleges across the country, it is vital that you keep an open mind while you are doing it, chiefly so that you don’t close yourself off to any benefits of one of your second, third, and fourth choices etc.
Later, once the trips are all done, you can use the power of deduction to cross off certain options. But while surveying your options, it is important not to shut anything out.
Talk To Your Prospective Peers
Socializing and meeting new people is a fun, dynamic and eye-opening aspect of college, so why not get some practice early? Talking to your prospective peers isn’t just about making new friends, although, this is a benefit too, and one that makes the eventual move more comfortable. But also about exercising the process.
It is true that the idea of this puts a lot of people on edge, and for obvious reasons. Meeting new people can be intimidating. Diving right in, and sharpening your social skills will get you into the habit of it, and the ease and assistance that this skill set can bring you is second to none.
Furthermore, remember that everybody is in the same boat as you, so why not be the first to dance?
Focus On Yourself
This is true more than any other point in this list, and it is this: always remember to focus on yourself. Don’t do any of these things in order to appease expectations, do it for your own reasons. If you ask a question to an expert, do it because you want to know the answer, or if you talk to a peer, do it with the interest of easing your nerves to make the most of your visit.
Most of all, when you are asking yourself whether a particular college or course is the right one, make sure you are thinking about yourself; is it right for you, and so is the environment?
In addition to this point, if you are doing this for any other reason than yourself, you should recalibrate and really hone in to get exactly what you want out of the experience. Your next few years and beyond that, your vocational and/or professional career begins here, so make sure that it is right.
Time Your Visit Wisely
In order to get the best sense of the college at hand, and by this, it is important to distinguish that what is meant is an accurate sense. For that, you will need to time your visit well. One way that you can do this is to visit during a semester. This will show you how the college operates during term time, which is important in getting a true feel of the place.
Another way is to book an overnight visit. This way, you get to know not only the way the college operates in the day time, but also what campus life feels like. If you are planning to live on campus, it is great to do this, to get a sense of how it will feel to live on particular campuses, and whether it is to your tastes and likings.
When you are visiting various colleges across the country, you will want to strategize how you schedule each and every trip to each and every college. Geographical logistics in one such concern that is unavoidable, but try to save the best until last. Otherwise, you can end up skipping over some options that are worth considering, and miss out on the possibility of retaining information from other colleges.
Don’t Rush Your Decision
One of the most important parts of this decision is that you take your time with it. Don’t say yes to the first option that feels right, survey your options, weigh up the pros and cons, because if nothing else, doing this will, in the long run, assure you that you have made the right decision. One that is calculated and based on all of the benefits and drawbacks of each possibility, without one exclusion.
Truth be told, picking a college might feel like a small decision, but it is one that you will look back on for many years as the building foundation for your future endeavors, whether that is further education in a university environment, or straight into your career.
So, What’s The Verdict?
Visiting various colleges across the country can be a nervous time for Gen Z’ers, but also a time of excitement, wonder and possibility. If you follow just a few of these steps, you will make it even more of an exhilarating experience that leads to an informed and certain decision.
If nothing else, this advice will help you to become more assured than ever in your ultimate decision. Beyond this, great things are waiting.