Visiting College Campuses Part 1 : The key is in the preparationAug 12, 2004 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line My recommendation is that you take a tour of Universities you are applying to, to find out if it is a place you will enjoy spending 4 years.
Choosing a college that is right for you is best done in person, rather than relying upon literature and word-of-mouth. Being able to see first hand where you will be spending your next 4 to 7 years gives advantages that just can't be achieved by going over the brochures that you have been presented with. Time and time again, new students arrive on the doorstep of their college without learning just what their new school has to offer, or where anything will be located. This can lead to numerous problems that can include disappointment, realizations that you did not expect, and unforeseen expenses that you may not have expected before arriving on campus. There are however, some simple tasks that you can undertake, and a few preparations that you can make to save yourself the stress of jumping into this whole new world of college.
As with any life-changing, or important decision that we make in our lives, doing research about your future institution is a very important thing to do. You should not take lightly the fact that you will be pouring yourself and your money into something as big as this, and it is important to have all of the information before you make your next step. Researching a campus tour, or a time where you can see the school is a little bit more complex than what you may think, but do not be afraid to ask the important questions. First off, you want to take a tour of your prospective college while students are there, and not during its down-time. The reason for this, is that you want to get a true feel for the campus while people are there, and see if it is something you will enjoy being a part of. Sometimes schools that have thousands and thousands of people can be very intimidating, and not fully knowing what it is like to go to school with ten thousand or even 50 thousand people can be a handicap on the first day of classes.
Try to attain a map of the campus before you get there, that way you are not struggling to find something without having a point of reference. It is beneficial to figure out just what would be the best route to get from Point A to Point B even before you get there. This will not only save time, but give you the ability to plan our how much of that time it will take to get from place to place. In addition to the map, seek information from anyone that you may know to have attended the University. It can be a family member, friend, or even a co-worker who has information. The more that you can learn before you get there, the better off you will be.
Timing is Everything
Knowing that you are going to visit a college campus, it is important to make the most of your trip. To do this, try to plan around events that would be taking place on campus. It can range from a sporting event to a cultural fair, it just needs to include students from the campus, and involve something that you enjoy doing. Most times, you can discover events like this by visiting the main web-site of the college, and it will give you all the information that you would need.
Also, try to go during a time where you will not be rushing yourself. You want to spend an amount of time that will let you do everything you planned on accomplishing at the start. Rushing yourself will only lead to missing stuff, and could tarnish your opinion of places and things that you see. By giving yourself some leisure time to see everything, you will be better suited to make an informed decision when it comes down to "crunch" time.
The necessities of the trip
It is easy to think of things that you will want to take on a trip, but also keep in mind that you will want to bring back information from the campus as well.
Items to bring:
Comfortable clothes : depending on the weather, you want clothes that you can walk around easily in. Also make sure to bring walking shoes, because some campuses are spread out, and are not easy to get around on with a car.
A Camera : A digital camera works best, because you can take pictures of the highlights of the campus, so that you don't forget when you are later comparing / contrasting the different choices you are going to make.
Notepad/Notebook : Bring something to write all of the information down that you attain. It is easy to forget everything that you learn, and even easier to forget what the positives and negatives of the campus were weeks after you have been there.
Campus Map : As I mentioned earlier, it is nice to know where you are going before you get there, and be able to see right where you are going.
A Plan : Come with a plan based on where you need to go. You may have a specific hall you want to live in, or a place you want to take classes. This will show you what your daily routine could be like when you get to college.
A Friend : Its always more fun when you are visiting these campuses with a friend who either will be attending college as well, or is just there to help you decide which was the best campus. Having a second set of eyes always helps.
An Open Mind : These campus visits are intended as a learning experience of what each place has to offer. If you go in with an open mind, you may be surprised at just how much some of the Universities have to offer. There are surprises around every corner if you just open yourself up to them.
Knowing that you will be visiting a certain campus gives you the opportunity to plan ahead and be ready for a great experience. Sitting down, and going over exactly what you are looking for in a college does not hurt before you go. It also could be beneficial for you to make a list of everything that you want to find out when you get there. By doing this, you will have a sot of "check-list" of things you want to accomplish during your visit there. It is up to you to decide just how structured your goals are going to be for your visit, but it important to at least set a few basic ones for yourself. Above all else, have fun planning it, because this is a place where you will be spending a lot of time in your near future. Take the time to make your trip memorable, and use every tool at your disposal to make it worth-while.
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