It’s super easy, as a high school student, to assume that the college visit is a waste of time. After all, you’ve probably already mentally decided on a school. Or maybe, you just don’t really care, and you’ll worry about it…erm…uh…later.
Well, I hate to break it to you, but later is coming a lot sooner than you may think. While visiting colleges might sound overwhelming and frankly, boring, we promise that they’re far more beneficial than you might think. If giving up your Spring Break to visit universities across the country sounds like a bummer, we’re here to convince you otherwise. You might actually have a little fun, and the world of college can feel like an entirely new and interesting planet.
We’ve put together a little list of reasons why college visits can make it or break it for you. Buckle up—the adventure’s about to begin!
7 reasons why college visits are worth it
1. It can help you make the decision
An obvious point, but we’re here for you. Choosing the college or university where you’re going to spend the next 4+ years of your life is a big deal. Sometimes admissions materials and websites just won’t cut it, and walking on campus with your own two feet can be the deciding factor regarding whether you’ll choose that particular college or not.
2. You can tack it onto a fun vacation or road trip
See! Your Spring Break doesn’t have to be fully consumed by colleges. If you’re taking a road trip with your family or traveling with a group over the summer, see if there are any colleges nearby that you’re interested in learning more about. Take a couple days to visit a few different schools, and then save the rest of your vacation for vacation, lest you get too overwhelmed.
3. You can get a feel for campus life
Every campus is different: some are wide and sprawling with lots of greenery and open lawn space. Others are more tropical with a view of the ocean, while others are downtown, right in the heart of the city and surrounded by buildings. Community life also differs at different schools, and depending on the college culture, you might find more reserved students or more outgoing and friendly peers.
You can also watch other students interact with each other, which can help you get a good vibe for what campus life and the community is like. Other great options to help you get a feel for campus life are attending a campus worship experience, attending a sporting event, or sitting in on a musical or theatrical performance.
4. You can visit the dorms and other key hangout areas
Visiting a college gives you the opportunity to take a look at the dorm facilities and see if you like how the living situation is set up. Some dorm rooms are tiny but have amazing cafes or other accouterments right in the dorm building, while other dorm rooms are quite large with private bathrooms. You’ll also get to peek in on college life and see how college students decorate and the creative ways they store their belongings.
If you’re at all curious about where you might be doing much of your homework, how big your closet will be, or if you’ll have your own mini kitchen, dropping in for a college visit is a must.
5. You can meet professors and talk to other students
While you might not have access to meet with any professor of your choosing, most colleges and universities will at least provide you with the option to meet with one professor from the program of your interest. Chatting with a professor and learning more about how they structure their classes and projects can give you a lot of insight into both your major and if that college program is the right fit for you.
And chances are, you’ll probably get the opportunity to meet with a couple students as well. Most admissions tour guides are current students, and depending on how the tour is set up, you might get the chance to talk with a student who has the same major you’re interested in as well.
6. You can sit in on a class
You’re headed to college for an education, right? For many students, college is when learning truly becomes interesting, and sitting in on a class can help light the fire of interest in your soul. You’ll get to hear subject matter you’re actually curious about, see how the class is set up, watch students and the professor interact, and experience college life at its finest!
7. You can eat the food
We know you’re interested in this. But for real, you’ll most likely be put on a meal plan at the school, so enjoying the food options can be really important to some students. If you’re visiting, check out the different cafes, coffee shops, and snack areas, as well as the main cafeteria. Depending on their size, some campuses have a wide array of restaurants to pick from, while others have only one or two eateries.
Take a look at the restaurants in the surrounding area, too. Are you near a big city? Chances are, you’ll have lots to choose from. Are you out in the country? You might find only a handful of local favorites nearby.
All in all, it’s worth it
Visiting a college campus can be like a mini vacation—if you let it. While you’ll be on high alert, watching and listening to all the hubbub, the experience can still be a blast, and it can truly inform your tough decision of choosing the right school.
Most likely, you’ll be visiting with your family, but visiting a school with a friend is another fun option! Don’t let time get away from you. Before you know it, it will be time to apply, and you’ll be approaching graduation—so make sure to get those college visits in there!