(Photo Credit: CollegeRank.net)
Summer and Fall are great times for many families to hit the road and start exploring colleges with their first college visit road trip. Here are some tips to make the most out of your journey:
If you do not have it in your budget to visit colleges far away from you, doing a local college visit tour can be just as helpful. I urge you to visit at least two distinctly different colleges, such as touring one large, public research university and then a small, private liberal arts-focused college. For example, if you are in Connecticut, you could visit University of Connecticut and then also Trinity College.
Make sure to register for the official walking tour, which is led by a knowledgeable current student ambassador. These students are a wealth of information, and I find are the best people to ask questions to get some “unpolished” answers to tough questions such as “if you could change one thing about this school, what would it be?” The walking tour allows you to glimpse what life would be like if you attend, such as eating in the dining commons, living in the residence halls, and attending class in a lecture hall. Oftentimes, you can also register for specific tours such as an Engineering Department tour or a Housing tour. This is all valuable information you cannot gather just by looking through a college’s website. Many colleges also offer special prospective student days ("Open House" or "Preview Day") , where you can spend all day on campus as if you were a student. Take advantage of these types of experiences whenever you can. Some examples: University of Wyoming Discovery Days Washington State University Fall Preview Colorado College Open House
If you have time, try to arrange to attend the info session as well. Typically, an info session happens right before a tour or after one concludes. This session is led by a member of the admissions team and generally goes over highlights about the school and covers topics such as what the school is looking for in their applicants. There is always a good chunk of time dedicated to question and answer, and who better to answer your question about the admission process than the person who is directly involved?
Email a rugby coach or team president before your visit and ask to meet him/her while you are there. Most coaches and team leaders are more than happy to meet prospective students, show off the athletic facilities, and even have students observe a practice. What a great way for you to see how a rugby program works, get to know a coach, as well as demonstrate your interest in a rugby program. Ask current players what they like most or what they dislike about studying and playing at a particular college. Also, take special care to watch the level of play – do you feel as if you could compete for a spot, or would you sit on the bench every year?
Lastly, HAVE FUN! College visits are an exciting time to explore and decide for yourself what factors you want in the college you will attend. Enjoy the experience!
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