You’ve read the literature, you’ve surfed the websites – so why do you need to visit colleges? College is a big investment of time and money so you shouldn’t make a decision to attend a particular school without a thorough visit to make sure it’s right for you. We’d go as far as saying that the college visit might be the most important step of your entire college search. Here are several reasons why.

See Beyond the Pretty Pictures

While a viewbook, catalog and website are extremely helpful, they are created from someone else’s perspective and don’t offer a personal view of the campus. To really get a feel for the school, you need to walk around the campus, visit the residence halls and meet some students in order to see it through your own eyes.

Gather Additional Information

Campus visits are a great way to find out more about what the college offers its’ students. Make sure to pick up any additional school material you see, such as brochures and financial aid forms, but don’t limit yourself to that. Look around for newspapers, calendars and bulletin boards. Check postings around campus to see what events are advertised, entertainment is planned, study abroad opportunities are available, and use that to determine what the overall energy is and whether that fits with your personality.

Introduce Yourself

Through the interview and visit, you have the chance to talk to those actually in the college community: students, faculty, admission and financial aid counselors. You’ll learn more about the college and can initiate a relationship with people who will help you through the admittance process if you choose to do so. On the flipside, the college has a chance to get to know you, which can be a great advantage in gaining admission to select schools. 

Test Your Chemistry

After all the literature, rankings and advice from family and friends it really all comes down to one thing: is the college a good match for you?  The visit will help you answer that question because you are able to immerse yourself in the environment and picture yourself there. Many students say they felt the chemistry the minute they walked onto the right campus so think about that during your visit. So after each visit, ask yourself the big question: did you feel at home there?