Why is a campus visit important?
As your high school years come to an end, the search for the appropriate college begins. Whether you are going to a vocational or technical college, there are certain things you should check out before you finalize your choice. Campus visits play a very essential role in deciding which college you ultimately select, the following is a college campus tour checklist you can review. It may not be possible to visit all the colleges on your list, do some initial research by going through the college brochures and websites. After you identify the few colleges that you are serious about, fix up an appointment with the admissions office, which will arrange for a campus tour. An actual visit to the college campus will give you an idea of life on campus, safety factors, the town in which it is located, the accommodations, on-campus or off-campus jobs, financial aid programs, requirements and deadlines, the curriculum, the student body, expectations of your professors, food, social life, the lab and library facilities, the sports facilities, and many more things that you are sure to want to explore. Read What to Expect from a Technical or Trade School if you plan on visiting or attending a Vocational college.
Whom do you ask?
Your tour guide will take you around the college campus for about an hour, giving you a brief history of the college, a general idea of the layout, and also talk about the student body, the activities, campus life, accommodation etc. However, this information is not enough. You should make sure that you talk to a cross-section of students, professors, and the administrative officers to get an unbiased view. So, after the guided tour, take time to go around the college on your own. Check out services such as shuttle-drops at night time, emergency infrastructure, parking facilities, the public transport system to the main town area, etc. If possible, try to sit through classes for courses you are interested in.
What do you ask?
When you are on a campus visit, there are certain aspects that you should look for in the campus of the college. Besides the academic and financial aspects, housing, food, and transportation, you should also check out the social, sports, and safety factors on the campus. Find out about the admission process, academic scholarships, accessibility of professors out of class, tutoring facilities on campus, grading and attendance policies, popular academic programs, etc, to ascertain the academic aspect of the college.
The financial aspect is extremely important for college education. So find out about financial aid programs, jobs on or off campus, the percentage of students that receive financial aid etc. Housing and food are important as you will in all probability be living outside your home for the first time. So, find out if you will get on-campus accommodations in the first year, the meal system, the laundry and dorm facilities, the rules and regulations, and the restaurants and cafeterias on campus. Be sure to find out about the social life, extra curricular activities, sports facilities, night clubs, and movie theatres. Campus safety is a major issue; find out every detail about reported crime, emergency facilities, safety measures adopted by the campus safety office, and the police. You may have innumerable questions besides these. Remember that no question is too mundane or silly. If you have a doubt it is worth asking, rather than face difficulties later.
Some tips to aid your campus visit
Be sure to carry a notepad and jot down details about each campus that you visit. Carry a camera in case you want to take some pictures. Campus tours usually have you on your feet for long hours, so wear comfortable shoes. Try to visit when classes are on so that you can have maximum interaction. Plan in advance so that you can attend both the information sessions and the campus tour. Remember that you have to spend four years on campus, be sure to make the most of a college tour, look out for every small detail, and ask questions whenever in doubt.