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Campus tour at a Nebraska college helping families make the most of campus visits.

On the exciting journey toward college, campus visits play a pivotal role in helping students and parents make informed decisions. To shed light on this topic, our own Sydney Burdick spoke with Brennan Wrightsman, an admissions tour guide and current college student at Wayne State College, to discuss the importance of college visits and how to make the most of them. Let’s dig in!

Why are college visits so crucial for high school seniors and their parents?

College visits are essential because they provide a firsthand experience of campus offerings. It’s a chance for students and parents to get a feel for the environment, culture, and facilities. Visits help people make informed decisions about where they want to spend the next four years of their life. They help students determine if a campus feels like a place they can call home. 

What can families expect during a typical college visit?

A typical college visit usually includes a campus tour and an admissions presentation. The campus tour allows students to explore the grounds, residence halls, classrooms, and more. It’s also an opportunity to ask questions and interact with current students.

The admissions presentation provides an overview of the application process, financial aid options, and other vital details. It’s a great chance to get questions answered by experts.

What should high school seniors and parents ask during these visits?

Families should come prepared with a list of questions. Some essential ones include:

  1. Academic programs. Ask about the majors available, class sizes, and faculty-student interaction.
  2. Campus life. Inquire about extracurricular activities, clubs, and organizations on campus.
  3. Financial aid. If finances are a concern, ask about scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study opportunities.
  4. Housing. Learn about the different residence halls, meal plans, and housing options.
  5. Career services. Ask about career support services, internships, and job placement rates.
  6. Admission requirements. It’s important to understand admission requirements and related deadlines.

How can families make the most of a college visit?

Following are a few tips that might be helpful.

  1. Plan ahead. Schedule your visit in advance to ensure you get a spot on the campus tour and admissions presentation. Many colleges allow students to schedule visits from their websites.
  2. Take notes. Bring a notebook or use your phone to jot down important information and first impressions during the visit. It also helps to take photos.
  3. Talk to current students. Feel free to strike up conversations with students you meet on campus. They can provide valuable insight into what they like and dislike about the school.
  4. Explore your surroundings. If time allows, explore the town or city to get a sense of the community. This is especially helpful when looking at a college in a much larger (or smaller) community than the student’s hometown.

What should students and parents consider when making a final decision about a college after visiting?

It’s crucial to reflect on your experiences during the visits. Listen to your gut. Consider the overall atmosphere, academic opportunities, and financial considerations. Talk as a family and weigh the pros and cons of each college. Remember, each student’s right fit is unique, so trust your instincts.

College visits are an invaluable part of the college application process, giving students and parents a real sense of what each campus offers. By asking the right questions and following these tips, you can make the most of your visits and make informed decisions about your future.

By Jeannine Phelan