College Visit Tips

Normandale+Community+College%2C+Bloomington

Lauren Kalina

Normandale Community College, Bloomington

Zhen Tu, Features writer

  1. Schedule a visit when school is in session
    • Although you can make detours to visit colleges while on other vacations, it is important to visit when school is in session. This way, you will get a realistic idea of campus life.
  2. Try to take a campus tour
    • The campus tour will most likely be very useful for prospective students. You will be able to see school features and see what makes the particular school unique. While you are exploring campus, it’s a good idea to pick up a student newspaper. Reading the newspaper will give you an idea of what issues students are passionate about.
  3. Then, make sure you explore the campus on your own
    • When you are on a campus tour, your tour guide will probably only show the most attractive features of the school, skipping over the less appealing sites. Therefore, it is very important for you to venture out and explore any areas of the campus you want to know more about. Make sure to visit the library and the first-year dorms as well. You should also visit a dining hall or student center to observe students. See if you can imagine yourself being at the school.
  4. Talk to students while on campus 
    • Don’t be afraid to ask current students questions and share any concerns you might have. Current students will often be able to give you a clearer picture of the school atmosphere and culture than campus tour guides.
  5. Explore specific academic departments
    • If you have a general idea of what academic area you are interested in, it’s a great idea to check out the particular academic department at the college you are visiting. Talking to professors and listening to a lecture can give you an idea of what is interesting about the program and what opportunities you may receive. If you have no idea what academic area you are interested in, it is still a good idea to sit in on a lecture. Maybe something will pique your interest!
  6. Ask for financial aid information and stop by the admissions department 
    • If you have any questions regarding admissions or financial aid, now is the best time to ask! A college’s financial aid department will usually tell you of the many opportunities available to students. In the admissions office, you can ask any personal questions you might have regarding admissions. Add your name to the sign-up sheet if there is one since some colleges factor in demonstrated interest when making their admission decisions. Some colleges may also let you interview with an admissions representative. Take advantage of this opportunity!
  7. Document your visit
    • If you are planning a whole string of college visits in the course of a few days or even a few weeks, it is really important to take notes of what you like and don’t like about each specific school. That way, your memories of the schools won’t blend together. You can also take pictures of the campuses so you can revisit them later.
  8. Lastly, know that you can take virtual tours too 
    • Is the school you are interested in too far away? Do you not have time to make a special trip? If so, you can use online programs—such as eCampusTours and YourCampus360— to take virtual tours of the college campuses you are interested in.