It’s April, and you have gotten into multiple colleges. All of a sudden what you dreamed of all along has become this overwhelming reality! First off, take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. Congratulations! You are in a great position!
While it may seem like a huge life decision you are not ready to make, there are easy ways to narrow down what schools you should be considering. It is always important, while you are deciding which school to go to, to remember that you are in a great position. While finding the right fit is important, a lot of the college experience is what you make of it and you will probably have a great and fulfilling time no matter where you go. Today I will be focusing on maximizing your experience during your campus visit.
Most schools will have a campus day for prospective students who have been accepted. If you have not been to visit the school yet, it is especially important to try to attend this. You will get a tour and the tables will have turned. As opposed to you trying to impress the schools, they will be doing everything they can to get you to attend. Even if you have already been to the school, this is still good to attend because sometimes your impressions will have changed and you will learn much more about the school.
When you are on campus, make an attempt to try to connect with someone you might know at the school. Whether it is a former high school friend who is older than you or a family friend or an alumni connection through your guidance counselor; it is crucial to get honest assessments from as many current students at the school as possible. Everyone is different, so it is important to take into account that while a school might seem great for someone, their experience might not necessarily be yours. Ask them what they love or dislike about their school. Most students around campus will tend to be positive about their school no matter what, so it is a good idea to try to get a really honest take on the school.
Better yet, even if your parents are staying in a hotel, try to stay with a student at the school in the dorms. This is the best way to see the school experience, meet a lot of current students, and see what life is really like at the school. Shadow this student to a day of classes (this might be difficult for some smaller classes but for general lectures you should be fine). At some schools, certain dorms have a specific kind of student that it caters to so remember to ask inquisitive questions to find out what the different types of dorms are to see what would be the right fit for you should you attend.
If you are applying to a specific school within a university or a smaller niche program, try to meet with professors within that program. Contact the department head in advance of your campus visit and ask to shadow a student for a day or sit in on classes. Many programs will be glad to facilitate you. A lot of professors are way more accessible than you think and you can find their emails through easy website searches.
Remember, prepare for your campus visit as much as possible to maximize how much you learn about the school!!