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Tips and Tricks to College Visits

Sarah Welsh, Travel Editor

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The joy is in the college decision process. College visits are essentially the way to experience the school before you commit to spending at least four years there. College gives you the opportunity to travel as far away from home as you want, and the process beforehand allows you to make sure you are going to have the best opportunities and the best time possible.

Most importantly: research the school. The one thing you do not want to have happen is travel all the way to a school, take a tour, and then have nothing to do afterwards whether it be at the school or in the surrounding area. Find out if they have anything notable at or around the school – for example Penn State has its famous creamery that no visit is complete without. Filling your time with these little outings will not only improve your visit but give you a taste for the college scene outside of the school or class.

Connections are key. If you know anyone who has gone to the school or is currently enrolled, give them a call. Getting an insider perspective can provide you with a more rounded view of the school, whether it is the truth about teachers or life outside of campus. While a guided tour is very beneficial, it gives you facts that you can easily look up while shadowing a friend would allow you to view the school from a student’s perspective.
Whether flying, driving, or taking a train – mapping out your trip at the beginning will allow you to maximize your exposure to each school. Timing your trip around big events at the schools such as sports, concerts, or fundraisers will make your trip so much more enjoyable. If a school is really good at football, try to go during the fall to catch a game. Not only will it be fun, but it will give you a preview of the student life and social scene of the college. You also want to avoid packing most of your trips in the summer because class is no longer in session and you miss the energy of the students. It is also good to try to hit multiple schools in one trip; this will save money and time. Deciding to drive to these schools will allow you to break up the long trip and see as many schools as possible along the way. Also, if you are traveling far, try to plan different activities in between college visits so you are not overwhelmed with all the information at once. Taking pictures and notes at each of the colleges can be helpful when it comes to differentiating what the best aspects of each of the schools were.

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Tips and Tricks to College Visits