Applying to college means a crash course in time management. You need to prep for the SAT and ACT, wrangle letters of recommendation, develop an amazing personal statement, and start your dorm room shopping list. It’s easy to run out of time before visiting all of the campuses that caught your eye.
Fear not, college applicants. Any university worth its salt puts tons of information online that can help you decide whether or not it’s worth the trip to see the campus in person.
- Look at the list of student clubs and sports.
Every school should have a list of student-run organizations, many of which will have their own websites or social media pages. This makes a great way to get the vibe for life on campus and see if you’ll meet students who share your interests.
- Check out the school’s social media accounts.
Universities everywhere rely on social media to connect with current and prospective students, promote the latest happenings around campus (like free food!), and celebrate student and faculty accomplishments.
Hop onto Google to find out if your school has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
- Read the school’s newspaper or student-run blog.
Most schools have a student-run newspaper (like The Communicator here at IPFW) that covers everything from student activities to arts and culture in the surrounding community. Happily, most of these newspapers publish stories on the web.
Student newspapers really help you learn what students at a particular university care about, what they’re promoting, and what gets the most attention on campus.
- Browse the course catalog.
Many universities make the course listings available online for anyone to look through. Whether you know what you want to major in or not, this is a great opportunity to see what classes are offered. You may discover an interest you never knew you had.
- Investigate your housing options.
The housing section of the university’s website will usually feature more photos of student housing than the virtual tour, including floor plans and amenities. Be sure to explore all of the housing options offered. Remember, not all colleges will have you living in “traditional” dorms — some offer apartment-style housing or partner with local apartments.
- Explore your dining options.
Many schools—especially the larger ones—have multiple dining options on campus. Some will even post daily or weekly menus online, so you can get a better sense of what your options would be when you’re craving a snack between classes.
- Reach out.
Still not sure if a school is “worth” the visit? Reach out to an admissions representative to get your questions answered before you commit to the trip. That’s what they’re there for!
If you ultimately decide to visit, these steps will help you feel prepared before you even set foot on campus. You’ll know what you want to learn more about and you can make better use of your time while you’re there.
About to head out on a campus visit? Download the College Visit Checklist for everything you need to know.