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Is it necessary to go on a college visit to decide on a college? How do college visits factor in making this decision?\

I would like to go to college out of state and it would be difficult to visit the colleges I am considering. #college #counseling

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Genevieve’s Answer

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College visits can make all the difference. Although it is not necessary, it can really help to see if it's a good fit for you and the type of environment you want to be in. Not every college campus is the same. However, it can be expensive trying to visit out-of-state schools. Try reaching out to admissions to see if they are willing to fund your traveling costs or if there are any departments or student organizations that may help. Some students may "host" a student at their dorm or apartment for free. This can significantly cut down travel costs for you. Instead of flying, which can be pricey, you might want to try taking a train or bus. If traveling won't be an option, see if the school can connect you with people who study in your areas of interest or are involved with organizations you'd like to join. Hearing their experiences can provide good insight that may be different from what admissions might tell you.


I tried to visit as many college campuses as I could to help with my decision. The costs weren't much of an issue since I applied mainly to CA schools. One school I applied to was Mount Saint Mary's University (MSMU) in Los Angeles. I considered it to be one of my "safety" schools before visiting. (Safety school is a school you apply to knowing your chances are high you'll be accepted). Even before attending, I knew I wanted to go to law school after college. However, MSMU is known mainly for its nursing program- something I wasn't interested in. Once I came to visit MSMU during admissions day, I realized the school had much more to offer. I saw this amazing professor (Dr. Boutrous) speak about the Political Science department and pre-law program. That day I learned that students in these programs have attended great law schools as well as the award winning mock trial and moot court teams. My tour guide also mentioned smaller schools allow you to get to know your professors better - which can be really important if you're considering grad school and need a good letter of recommendation - something I didn't even realize would be important for when I would apply to law school. If I didn't visit the campus to learn all these things and experience it first hand, I probably wouldn't have made the decision to go there.


I decided to go to law school out-of-state. Although my original plan was to stay local in California, I figured it couldn't hurt to keep my options open. I ended up getting into several out-of-state schools. I made the trip to visit two law schools. I used my savings from my part-time jobs to help pay for my traveling expenses. Similar to my college experience, I went to visit a school that wasn't exactly my top choice. I ended up really liking the midwest school I visited, The University of Iowa College of Law. The faculty and staff were really friendly - all pretty down to earth, smart, and had a sense of humor. My future classmates were very nice as well - ambitious and driven yet warm and friendly. I also learned about a tuition assistance program that would help cut down costs by half - something that was important to me since grad school can be really expensive. If I never visited the campus and got to experience the culture first-hand or learn about the tuition assistance program, I probably would have never made the decision to go there, despite it being a well-ranked law school.


Moral of the story, what you read online about a school won't be enough to help you decide. More importantly, what you think about a school before visiting or talking to people won't give you the full picture of what a school can really offer. There's so much more you can learn about a college from visiting and talking to as many people as you can.


Best of luck!

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Gil’s Answer

Visit the school's website. Some places have great videos and offer "tours" of their campuses. You can also contact a school representative to get a good idea of what the institution is like. Get a feel for the person's attitude, which often reflects the attitude of the campus in general. If you know someone who attended that college or university pick his or her brain. You might even try Facebook to see if you can get responses about the school you're considering.

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Matthew’s Answer

Camryn, this is a great question to consider, especially when distance and traveling expenses pose considerable challenges as you make your decision. No, it's not absolutely necessary to visit a college prior to accepting the offer for admission there. However, it can be a significant factor in your experience there if you decide that the environment just isn't something that helps you learn, feel comfortable, etc. Gil's answer is a good one - sometimes college websites offer virtual tours, and connecting with other admission reps and even some undergraduate students would help you make a more well-rounded decision.


Best of luck!

Thank you comment icon emm o thank you Renugadevi
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Nina’s Answer

Besides visiting a college, one thing that will tell you a lot about the culture of a school is speaking with multiple alumni or current students. Typically, colleges have a common culture among them that rubs off on its students. For example, when I was meeting with Brown University alumni, I got a very different impression about the school and the general attitude then I got from meeting UCLA alumni and students. If you can't visit the school itself, see if you can meet any students or alumni in your area. It'll tell you a lot, seriously.

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Christy’s Answer

I understand it could be hard to travel and visit colleges but it does provide insight you can't get online or talking to people. Online and reaching out to people that have attended a certain college is certainly a resource that should be used, however, walking on the campus and meeting students, tasting the food, checking out the kids and talking with admissions and possibility some professors in your field of study really makes a difference.


College is the MOST exciting time of your life! Picking the right college for you is important but remember, bloom where you are not matter where you go! College has so much to offer students, I highly advise taking full advantage and get VERY involved.


Wishing you the absolute best!
Christy

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Shobha’s Answer

Hi Camryn,


no, it's not necessary to visit a college campus to decide on it. you can always refer internet and do some browsing to find the best college and also have a virtual tour to get a feel of the place. moreover, look out for the reviews and feedbacks from the x-students of that college which would help you better.

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