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College Visits

The best way to get a feel for a college is to visit it. As you walk around a campus you should be able to picture yourself living and working there. Ask yourself: Is this a place where you would learn and thrive? College visits are worth the time and effort.

To help you get the most out of your college visits, use the handy College Visit Assessment Chart below. It is a tool to help you organize and compare your visits.

A. Before You Visit
To secure a productive visit, do the following before you go:Arrange for a visit by calling the college admission office. Call the admissions office to secure a spot on a campus tour. Check with the admissions office about visitor opportunities like sitting in on classes, interviews with admission officers, and even arrangements to stay overnight in a dorm room.

B. Key Questions to Ask Below are some questions that you might consider asking your tour guide, admission officer, or people who you meet on campus:

  • What do students like the most and least about the college?
  • How would you characterize campus life?
  • What is the average class size, particularly for introductory classes?
  • Who teaches the classes?
  • What programs are considered to be the strengths of the college?
  • Is it easy to get the classes that you want?
  • Is there easy access to see your teachers?
  • Are there a variety of learning options?
  • How are roommates selected? How are roommate disputes handled?
  • What is the student dropout rate after the first year?
  • What is the percentage of students who graduate in four years?
  • What help is available for students?
  • Is there an active social life on campus?
  • Is the campus safe and secure?
  • Do most students live on campus?

C. College Visit Assessment Chart

To get a “snapshot” of a college visit, complete the simple chart below. Rate each item using the following scale:

5 =outstanding; 4=very good; 3=neutral; 2=below average; 1=poor

Rating / Observation

5 4 3 2 1 Condition of the buildings, both interior and exterior

5 4 3 2 1 Campus grounds and layout

5 4 3 2 1 Condition of the dorms and dorm rooms

5 4 3 2 1 Condition of the dining hall and dining hall food

5 4 3 2 1 Condition and available activities in the student union

5 4 3 2 1 Availability and condition of study areas: library, labs, etc.

5 4 3 2 1 Athletic and wellness facilities

5 4 3 2 1 Classrooms and class size

5 4 3 2 1 General “snapshot” of the students: your overall impression

5 4 3 2 1 Class offerings in the fields that interest you

5 4 3 2 1 Social activity opportunities

5 4 3 2 1 Nearby shops, entertainment, and other desirable facilities

5 4 3 2 1 Overall safety features and conditions

5 4 3 2 1 Snapshot of the campus culture and quality of campus life

5 4 3 2 1 Academic feel to the campus

5 4 3 2 1 Friendliness of students on campus

5 4 3 2 1 Campus newspaper (be sure to read it)

5 4 3 2 1 Your connection or feel for this campus

5 4 3 2 1 Do the students seem engaged and positive?

5 4 3 2 1 Were students positive about their college?

Total your ratings. Divide total by 20 for average