Visits to Colleges

graduation-rates2Of all the steps you take in the process of selecting a college, visiting the campus will probably have the greatest impact on determining which college you choose.  College admission officers agree that, except where a visit is impossible, no student should select a college without having spent some time on the campus.  At many colleges and universities (especially private institutions), an interview is highly desirable and sometimes required. Most college students and college counselors agree that the visit will have the greatest single impact in determining your college choice.

WHY: You gain an awareness of the atmosphere or “feel” for a college that cannot be derived from reading a catalog or talking to people second-hand.

WHICH ONES: Visit only after careful research and consideration of colleges that could interest you.  Location, cost, academic competitiveness should be within your reach.

WHEN: The best time to visit is during the normal college session (spring or early fall).  However, most colleges are in operation during the summer months and admission officers are feeling relaxed and enjoy seeing prospective students at this time.  A return to several favorite colleges could be arranged in the fall.

 

PLANNING FOR THE INTERVIEW AND VISIT

1.   Be prepared for the visit by carefully reviewing the college’s website so you do not waste the interviewer’s time with questions easily answered on the website.  Keep notes on each college and write down questions you wish to ask and impressions you wish to confirm.

2.   Look up former students from your high school with whom you can visit.

3.   Check to see how the college uses the interview.  Is it evaluative or simply considered a time to exchange information?  Is it required or optional?

4.   Save critical, top-choice colleges for last, when you have gained experience and self-confidence, and can draw comparisons.

5.   Call 2-3 weeks ahead of time for your interview and ask for the tour schedule at the same time.  Do not drop in on a college and expect to be interviewed.

6.   Dress appropriately, neatly and in a manner that is typical of you.

7.   Be prepared to talk about your courses, grades, and ACT/SAT (or PSAT) scores.  Get ready to talk about your strengths, interests, accomplishments, goals, what you are looking for in a college experience.

8.   Discuss with your parents their role in the interview.  It is important that the interviewer remembers you, not your parents. Even if invited to join the interview, the wise parents decline.   Some colleges will arrange for parents to be involved in other activities while you are being interviewed.

 

DURING THE INTERVIEW

1.   Be on time!

2.   Relax!  Enjoy yourself!  Be spontaneous!  Gain information for your own use.  Remember that the interview is a 50-50 proposition.  You should ask questions too.

3.   Be prepared for the interviewer.  He/she may be difficult, indifferent, passive, busy or on another “wave length.”  Remain calm, optimistic and natural; do not be defeated.

4.   Be ready to share why you think this college/university is a good fit for you. The focus should be on the academic offerings in the area of your interest. Be specific so that the interviewer knows you have done your research. Also, you might discuss one or more extracurricular activities in which you want to become involved such as the drama program, Circle K, or athletics (intercollegiate or intramural).

5.   Listen well.  You need not do all the talking.  If possible, ask follow-up questions to show you are paying close attention and know how to probe deeper.

6.   Do not bluff!  If you do not know the answer to a question, say so.  If you are confused by the question, ask for clarification.

7.   Remember the name of the interviewer and thank him/her.  Ask for a business card so that you can write a thank-you note or an e-mail message when you return home.  It is always appreciated.

 

DURING THE TOUR

1.   Include the dorms, classrooms, library, dining room, student center and athletic facilities–places where you can meet students.  Above all, get a feel for the atmosphere of the college.

2.   If possible, talk to a variety of students.

3.   Eat a meal on campus.

4.   Try to arrange a visit to your area of specialty. If possible, sit in on a class and talk to faculty.

5.   Pick up copies of the student newspaper and check the bulletin board to find out what is happening on campus.

graduation-rates2Of all the steps you take in the process of selecting a college, visiting the campus will probably have the greatest impact on determining which college you choose. College admission officers agree that, except where a visit is impossible, no student should select a college without having spent some time on the campus. At many colleges and universities (especially private institutions), an interview is highly desirable and sometimes required. Most college students and college counselors agree that the visit will have the greatest single impact in determining your college choice.

WHY: You gain an awareness of the atmosphere or “feel” for a college that cannot be derived from reading a catalog or talking to people second-hand.

WHICH ONES: Visit only after careful research and consideration of colleges that could interest you. Location, cost, academic competitiveness should be within your reach.

WHEN: The best time to visit is during the normal college session (spring or early fall). However, most colleges are in operation during the summer months and admission officers are feeling relaxed and enjoy seeing prospective students at this time. A return to several favorite colleges could be arranged in the fall.

 

PLANNING FOR THE INTERVIEW AND VISIT

1. Be prepared for the visit by carefully reviewing the college’s website so you do not waste the interviewer’s time with questions easily answered on the website. Keep notes on each college and write down questions you wish to ask and impressions you wish to confirm.

2. Look up former students from your high school with whom you can visit.

3. Check to see how the college uses the interview. Is it evaluative or simply considered a time to exchange information? Is it required or optional?

4. Save critical, top-choice colleges for last, when you have gained experience and self-confidence, and can draw comparisons.

5. Call 2-3 weeks ahead of time for your interview and ask for the tour schedule at the same time. Do not drop in on a college and expect to be interviewed.

6. Dress appropriately, neatly and in a manner that is typical of you.

7. Be prepared to talk about your courses, grades, and ACT/SAT (or PSAT) scores. Get ready to talk about your strengths, interests, accomplishments, goals, what you are looking for in a college experience.

8. Discuss with your parents their role in the interview. It is important that the interviewer remembers you, not your parents. Even if invited to join the interview, the wise parents decline. Some colleges will arrange for parents to be involved in other activities while you are being interviewed.

 

DURING THE INTERVIEW

1. Be on time!

2. Relax! Enjoy yourself! Be spontaneous! Gain information for your own use. Remember that the interview is a 50-50 proposition. You should ask questions too.

3. Be prepared for the interviewer. He/she may be difficult, indifferent, passive, busy or on another “wave length.” Remain calm, optimistic and natural; do not be defeated.

4. Be ready to share why you think this college/university is a good fit for you. The focus should be on the academic offerings in the area of your interest. Be specific so that the interviewer knows you have done your research. Also, you might discuss one or more extracurricular activities in which you want to become involved such as the drama program, Circle K, or athletics (intercollegiate or intramural).

5. Listen well. You need not do all the talking. If possible, ask follow-up questions to show you are paying close attention and know how to probe deeper.

6. Do not bluff! If you do not know the answer to a question, say so. If you are confused by the question, ask for clarification.

7. Remember the name of the interviewer and thank him/her. Ask for a business card so that you can write a thank-you note or an e-mail message when you return home. It is always appreciated.

 

DURING THE TOUR

1. Include the dorms, classrooms, library, dining room, student center and athletic facilities–places where you can meet students. Above all, get a feel for the atmosphere of the college.

2. If possible, talk to a variety of students.

3. Eat a meal on campus.

4. Try to arrange a visit to your area of specialty. If possible, sit in on a class and talk to faculty.

5. Pick up copies of the student newspaper and check the bulletin board to find out what is happening on campus.

 

AFTER THE VISIT

1. Take careful notes right after the visit for later reflection and review.

2. Write thank-you notes/e-mail messages to people who spent time with you.

3. Do not rely on emotions alone to judge your visit. Make a reasonable and objective evaluation based on a range of observations and opinions.

 

QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT BE ASKED DURING THE INTERVIEW

1. Why are you interested in this institution? Why are we a good choice for you?

2. Tell me about your school. What do you like or dislike about your school?

3. What is your greatest strength as a person–as a student? What are your shortcomings or weaknesses?

4. What are you hoping to major in? Why?

5. How do you spend your leisure time?

6. Describe yourself with three words. What would you like to say about yourself?

7. What significant events(s) have occurred in your life thus far?

8. Where and when are you most stimulated intellectually?

9. What are your plans for the future?

10. What do you want to get out of your college experience?

 

QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT ASK (YOURSELF OR OTHERS) DURING THE VISIT

1. What are the physical surroundings like?

2. What are the dormitory accommodations?

3. What are the dining facilities like? Is there a student center?

4. If athletics are important to you, what are the facilities? Are there intramural opportunities as well as intercollegiate?

5. What kind of counseling center is available? What career exploration, internships, and job placement services are available?

6. How large are the classes, especially at the introductory levels?

7. Who teaches at different levels (graduate assistants, professors, adjunct faculty)?

9. What are the strong departments?

10. What are the opportunities for off-campus study such as foreign study?

11. What is the focal point of social life on campus?

12. Am I a person who could fit well on this campus?

13. Is this a place where I would really enjoy living and studying for the next few years?

 

AFTER THE VISIT

1.   Take careful notes right after the visit for later reflection and review.

2.   Write thank-you notes/e-mail messages to people who spent time with you.

3.   Do not rely on emotions alone to judge your visit.  Make a reasonable and objective evaluation based on a range of observations and opinions.

 

QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT BE ASKED DURING THE   INTERVIEW

1.   Why are you interested in this institution?  Why are we a good choice for you?

2.   Tell me about your school.  What do you like or dislike about your school?

3.   What is your greatest strength as a person–as a student?  What are your shortcomings or weaknesses?

4.   What are you hoping to major in?  Why?

5.   How do you spend your leisure time?

6.   Describe yourself with three words.  What would you like to say about yourself?

7.   What significant events(s) have occurred in your life thus far?

8.   Where and when are you most stimulated intellectually?

9.   What are your plans for the future?

10.  What do you want to get out of your college experience?

 

QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT ASK (YOURSELF OR OTHERS) DURING THE VISIT

1.   What are the physical surroundings like?

2.   What are the dormitory accommodations?

3.   What are the dining facilities like?  Is there a student center?

4.   If athletics are important to you, what are the facilities?  Are there intramural opportunities as well as intercollegiate?

5.   What kind of counseling center is available?  What career exploration, internships, and job placement services are available?

6.   How large are the classes, especially at the introductory levels?

7.   Who teaches at different levels (graduate assistants, professors, adjunct faculty)?

9.   What are the strong departments?

10.  What are the opportunities for off-campus study such as foreign study?

11.  What is the focal point of social life on campus?

12.  Am I a person who could fit well on this campus?

 

KEY QUESTION: Is this a place where I would really enjoy living and studying for the next few years?

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