Here are things you shouldn't miss while visiting a college. Take a look at this list before planning campus trips to make sure that you allow enough time to get a sense of what the school—and the life of its students—is really like. You should plan at least one half day at each college and for those schools you’re really interested in, try to stay overnight.  It's best to plan your visit when the school is in session so you can witness actual campus life as it would be if you attended there. And don’t forget to bring a notebook to jot down your impressions while they’re fresh in your mind.

All Schools

  • Take a campus tour.
  • Schedule an interview with an admission officer.
  • Pick up financial aid forms.
  • Talk to coaches of sports in which you might participate.
  • Eat in the cafeteria.
  • Look at the student body and picture yourself making friends there.
  • Read the student newspaper.
  • Scan bulletin boards to see what activities are going on.
  • Ask students why they chose the college.
  • Wander around the campus by yourself.
  • Browse in the college bookstore.
  • Walk or drive around the community surrounding the campus.
  • Ask students what they do on weekends.
  • Ask your tour guide a couple of questions.

Schools You’re Really Interested In

  • Attend an open house or other admission event.
  • Sit in on a class of a subject that interests you.
  • Talk to a professor in your chosen major or in a subject that interests you.
  • Talk to a student or counselor in the career center.
  • Ask students what they love about the college.
  • Ask students what they hate about the college.
  • Seek out other student publications—department newsletters, alternative newspapers, literary reviews.
  • Look around for construction projects or signs of building improvements (a good thing as it signals quality facilities.)
  • Spend the night in a residence hall.
  • Listen to the college's radio station.
  • Ask to see a dorm room that you didn't see on the tour.