The Importance of a Campus Visit
BY: Eric Young, Director of Admission, University of Mount Union
As the school year winds down and students begin to make summer plans, one activity that should be on your mind is to schedule campus visits to a few colleges and universities. While most institutions offer campus visits throughout the year, many hold specific summer visit days to provide prospective students with a general overview of their schools. Within these visits, prospective students and their families have the opportunity to interact with current students, faculty, and staff. Specifically, here are my top three reasons to utilize your summer break to visit a few college campuses.
- The campus visit enables you to ask the tough questions that are important to you. During a campus visit, you will often have the opportunity to talk with both current students and admission staff members at the institution. Admission staff members are well versed in the institution, the admission process, and financial aid; all of which will be useful throughout your college search. Current students can talk about their experiences on campus and provide a snapshot of what life is like at the school. There are no dumb questions, so make use of your time on campus and ask away!
- The campus visit allows you to explore different types of campuses. Whenever I meet with a family, I talk about the idea of finding the right fit. One of the key components of fit relates to different types of campuses. Large or small? Rural or urban? Residential or commuter? Each of these aspects of the campus will impact the student experience and are important to think about during your visit. You might think you know exactly what you want in a campus, but lots of students end up surprised! Giving yourself a first-hand experience is the best way to discover the best fit for you.
- The campus visit provides insight into the student experience beyond what you can learn online or in a brochure. I have heard several students over the years talk about how online information and brochures are useful in relaying facts, but often fail to portray the environment on campus. During your visit, you can witness the echo spot on campus, sample the homemade desserts in the dining hall, or experience any number of other UMU traditions.
When planning your campus visits during the summer, or at any time, it is also important to recognize that there are a variety of resources to help before, during, and after your time on campus. ACT and The College Board both offer free online resources that help with planning a visit, thinking through questions to ask while on campus, and ways to evaluate the visit once it is over.