College Visits

College Visits Country And Abroad

I visit colleges throughout the country and abroad so that I can give my students and their families a more robust picture
of what various colleges offer. Here’s a list of colleges I’ve visited since 2018:
2018 University of Virginia VA, USA
2018 Elon University NC, USA
2018 Duke University NC, USA
2018 University of NC – Chapel Hill NC, USA
2018 University of Vermont VT, USA
2018 Middlebury College VT, USA
2018 Norwich University VT, USA
2018 Northern Vermont – Lyndon VT, USA
2018 Vermont Technical College VT, USA
2018 Northern Vermont – Johnson VT, USA
2018 Landmark VT, USA
2018 Bennington College VT, USA
2018 St. Joseph’s College VT, USA
2018 Southern Vermont College VT, USA
2018 Castleton College VT, USA
2018 St. Michael’s College VT, USA
2018 Champlain College VT, USA
2018 Georgia Tech GA, USA
2018 Ringling College of Art and Design FL, USA
2017 University of West England England
2017 University of Bristol England
2017 University of Bath England
2017 University of Bath – College of the Arts England
2017 University of Falmouth England
2017 University of Exeter England
2017 University of Plymouth England
2017 Royal Hollaway – University of London England
2017 University of Bournemouth England
2017 University of Bournemouth – College of the Arts England
2017 New College Florida
2017 Beacon College FL
2017 Northeastern University MA
2016  Florida Southern FL
2016 Southeastern University FL
2016 Barry FL
2016 Lynn FL
2016 Keiser FL
2016 Eckerd FL
2016 University of Tampa FL
2016 Rollins FL
2016 St. Leo FL
2016 FIT FL
2016 Stetson  FL
2016 Embry-Riddle FL
2016 University of Jacksonville FL
2016 Flager FL
2016 Texas Women’s University TX
2016 Elon NC
2016 Greensboro College NC
2016 Bennett NC
2016 Guilford College NC
2016 Wake Forest University NC
2016 Salem College NC
2016 High Point NC
2016 Livingstone College NC
2016 Catawba College NC
2016 Wingate University NC
2016 Cabarrus College of Health Science NC
2016 Pfeiffer University NC
2015  University of Vermont VT
2015 Simmons College MA
2015 Goucher College MD
2015 Loyola of Maryland MD
2015 Stevenson College MD
2015 McDaniel College MD
2015 Hood College MD
2015 University of South Florida  FL
2015 University of Central Florida FL
2015 James Madison University VA
2014  Dickenson College PA
Miami of Ohio OH
2014 West Virginia University WV
2014 University of South Carolina SC
2014 Indiana University  IN
2014 Towson University  MD
2014 Frostburg MD
2014 Blue Ridge Community College WV Rider University  NJ
2014 Princeton University  NJ
2014 State College of Florida FL Quinnipiac University CT
2014 University of Dallas  TX
2014 Texas Christian University  TX
2014 Salisbury MD
2014 UMES MD
2014 Dean College  MA
2014 School of the Museum of Fine Arts  MA
2014 Edison College (now FL Southwestern)  FL
2014 Embry Riddle FL Emmanuel College  GA
2014 University of Alabama AL
2014 University of New Haven  CT
2014 Gulf Coast University  FL
2013 Shippensburg  PA
2013 New College FL
2012  University of Maryland  MD
2012 UMBC MD
2011 Marshall  WV
2011 Liberty University  VA
2011 Hollins VA Bluefield  VA
2011 Sweet Briar VA
2010  Rensellear Polytechnic University NY
2010 Mount St. Mary’s University MD Gettysburg College  PA
2010 American University  DC
2010 Georgetown  DC
2010 George Washington  DC
2010 Penn State Mount Alto PA
2010 Shenandoah VA Shepherd University  WV
2010 Harvard University  MA

Keys To Successful College Admissions

One of the keys to successful college admissions is for a student and family to visit colleges. I myself visit at least 15-20 colleges per year so that when I put a school on a student’s list, I know that the school and the student would be a good fit.

Think of it the same as purchasing a home. You wouldn’t spend that kind of money without walking through the home and asking yourself if you can see yourself there. Visiting a college before going there, to me, is the same as purchasing a home. A student who, if at all possible, walks the campus, samples the food, checks out the dorm, and talks to a professor, is more confident in their college choice than a student who decides on a college simply by checking out the website.

Successful College Admissions
College Visits

Don’t just take my word for it. The quoted remarks here are from a few of my current seniors, after they have visited colleges:

“I really thought I’d like this campus. It has been my #1 dream college since I was a kid. My dream clashed with reality. It was dark. The rooms were old and dark. The classrooms were dark. And, no one smiled. Take this off my list.”

“I really liked this school. It felt clean to me and very well put together. The school has great internship opportunities. My Mom and I talked to the head of the cafeteria like you suggested and they definitely can accommodate my diabetes needs. I also liked that I didn’t need to be majoring in Dance in order to participate in the program. I definitely want to keep this school on my list.”

“I really didn’t think I’d like this school. I thought it would be too small and wouldn’t have any school spirit. Mom and I decided to visit at the last minute and I LOVE it. Definitely want to keep it on my list. The opportunities available for internships blew me away. All dorms are suite style, which looks great. We even got to attend a basketball game. The school spirit is off the charts. Definitely want to keep this one on my list.”

 

In my 30+ years both as a school counselor and an independent college counselor, I have fielded many questions from parents and students about visiting colleges.

College Visits

What’s the value of a college campus visit?

Touring a college campus gives students and parents the opportunity to really get to know all aspects and opportunities that this school has to offer, above what can be learned on a college’s website or visiting Reddit. I recommend that students come prepared to get the most out of their visit by reviewing the website and social media pages and writing down any specific questions that they want to be answered while on the tour.

Bottom line: visiting a college campus takes away any doubt that either the student or parent may have.

How many college campuses should I tour?

That’s a great question. All of the students that I work with have their college list solidified by May of their junior year. My best advice is for parents to plan their summer vacation around touring colleges that are farthest away from home. Try, if possible, to tour two schools a day. The schools that are within two hours from home can easily be visited on a weekend in September. I do recommend, if possible, touring any schools on the list prior to October of senior year. I recognize that with budgetary and scheduling constraints, that isn’t always possible. If the student hasn’t visited a school yet but has applied and been accepted, then a college visit is definitely required before making the final decision on May 1.
College Visits

How do I schedule college visits?

Simply, go on the college’s website, click on Admissions and then Visiting. Click on the drop down calendar for a list of dates and times to visit and tour the campus. Then, follow the prompts to sign up.
College Visits
College Visits

Can anyone walk through a college campus?

Prior to the pandemic, I would have said “yes” however, security on many college campuses has increased, due to COVID safety concerns. If you want to walk a college campus, but your schedule doesn’t permit taking an “official tour.” my recommendation is that you call the admissions office and ask them if you can.

I would also ask them this question: “Does your college keep track of demonstrated interest?”

If the answer is “Yes”, then I would explain your scheduling concerns to the admissions office and see if, together, you can find a time to ‘officially’ visit.

Demonstrated interest is where the colleges keep track of any student who has visited, which supports the student in gaining admission to the school.

If the school doesn’t keep track of demonstrated interest and allows you to walk the campus, you can download a pdf document of a walking tour of the campus through Google.

What can I expect from an official college campus visit?

You will begin your visit, usually, at the Admissions Office where you will be given materials on the school and specific, and usually new, programs the school wants to highlight. You will then sit through a 30-45 minutes informational session with an admissions representative, where you will learn about the admissions process and requirements. Following that, you will be sent out on a 60-90 minute tour with a current student to tour the campus and get any of your questions answered. These tours usually end where it started, in case you have other questions to ask

How long are college tours?

Each college tour usually lasts about 3 hours.

Questions to ask on a college visit or college tour?

I strongly recommend that students create a list of questions based on your research of the college’s website and social media sites. Parent’s should also generate their own list prior to touring the campus.

Topics for questions could include:

  • Specific questions about the major, including;
    • Study abroad
    • Internship opportunities
    • Research opportunities
  • Specific questions about extracurricular activities,including:
    • How to get involved
    • Weekend activities on campus
    • Sponsored weekend activities off of campus

During your college visit, be sure to:

  • Eat in one of the cafeteria’s
  • Pick up a newspaper or the QR code for the paper. When reading the paper, pay particular attention to all that happens on the weekend. You probably won’t have a car. Can you keep busy on the weekends? Are there opportunities to meet new friends?
  • Talk to a professor who teaches your major. Many admissions counselors will set that up when you register to visit.
  • Parents, be sure to talk to the financial aid office about their timeline for awards and scholarships

What to wear on a college tour?

Great question. I have seen students wear everything from a 3 piece suit or dress with 4 inch heels to a tee shirt, shorts and flip flops. Unless the college is very small, it is doubtful that anyone in admissions will remember what you wore during your visit.

My best advice is to dress comfortably, sensibly and for the weather. You will be walking for up to 2 hours so wear comfortable walking shoes and clothes that look good and are comfortable without being revealing.

College Visits
2022 SAT & ACT

How I can help you make sense of the college tour process?

As your individual college counselor, I am available to guide you through the entire college tour process and answer any questions you may have. I have forged relationships with many admissions counselors. If I know ahead of time, I can let the counselor know you are coming and what specific questions you may have.

As a former special education teacher and school counselor, my knowledge of the college campus tour process is extensive, having toured more than one hundred US and UK campuses in my career. Contact me at dianne@launching college success.com or 240-285-1920 to explore how I can support both you and your student through this process.

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