Visiting colleges and universities in person is one of the most important – and fun – parts of the admissions process. At this step in the process you don’t have to study for exams, write essays or do paperwork. You simply get to visit a beautiful campus, talk to faculty, eat in the dining hall with students, and learn more about a college and your place in it.
College visits will answer four main questions:
- Is this school right for me (why or why not)?
- What are common features of this type of college?
- What characteristics make me happiest (or saddest)?
- What does this type of campus really feel like and can I live hear?
The answers to these questions will help you make better, more informed decisions about your college future than reading a pamphlet or website alone could ever do. You will know if you want a large or small school, an urban or rural school, a commuter or campus school, etc. Are you picking up what I’m putting down? If you know what college you want to go to, VISIT. If you aren’t sure what college is right for you or if you want to go to college, VISIT.
When you make the effort to go to the campus, make sure you get all the information you can out of the visit. We love the information resources and apps built by Smart College Visit. We also use the CollegeBoard‘s comprehensive information about preparing for your visit. Check out Collegeboard’s campus visit checklist to make sure you cover your bases.
With over 4000 two- and four- year colleges in the US, you have quite a few schools that you could visit. In New York City alone, we have 30 CUNY campuses and dozens of other schools.
If NYC is home for you, CUNY is a great place to start your college visits. Depending on where you are in the city, CUNY campuses can feel very different from each other. Borough of Manhattan Community College is set in the middle of Tribeca, surrounded by tall buildings and booming businesses, City College is made up of several ivy-covered, stone buildings, and Kingsborough Community College sits as close to the beach as you can get. All you need is a MetroCard to get to any of these campuses. To learn more about CUNY, including how to set up a visit, click over to their website.
If you live outside of NYC, find schools that are near you and go to their websites to learn more about setting up college visits.
In addition to visiting local schools, you may want to visit schools that are further away. If you do these trips independently, it can be costly considering driving/flight, hotel, and food expenses. Many schools recognize that students may want to but can’t afford to visit. These (very cool) schools offer “fly-in programs,” that allow students to visit the campuses of schools with some, most or even all of the travel expenses covered. Visiting students are able to stay in dorms, meet currents students, attend a class, speak with faculty, and get a general feel for the school.
The fly-in programs can be general orientations or may have a specific focus. Many schools offer “diversity” events that seek to introduce students from under-represented ethnic backgrounds to the school, which creates a win-win for students who want to visit and for the schools who want to improve the school’s diversity. Click over to GetMeToCollege.org or see the list of programs on the next page to learn more about fly-in programs and the approaching deadlines. If one of your schools is on this list, apply for the fly-in programs as soon as possible.
We hope you take advantage of the opportunity to visit colleges and universities, whether they are local, away, or both. You don’t want to miss out of the chance to see a school in person. If you have further questions about visiting colleges, please feel free to comment here.
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