Making the Most of Your Campus Visit
If you have already been accepted into colleges and are trying to choose one, or
if you will be applying later this year and want to make an informed target list,
it is always best to visit colleges to get an idea of what to expect.
When visiting a campus, make sure to attend the organized information session
and official tour. At scome colleges, you have to schedule specific sessions and
tours in advance, usually through the university website. Make sure to check
schedules and reservation procedures before you head to campus.
Once you are at the information session, make sure to sit near the front of the
room so that you don’t miss any important information. Also, have a list of
specific questions prepared so that you get all the information you need to
make a good choice. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions but avoid asking
overly specific questions about your situation in an open forum. Instead, save
those questions for when you meet with the person responsible for recruiting
and admitting foreign students.
You should also make sure to visit the university’s office of international student
affairs. This is the place you will come with questions on visas, travel to your
home country, tuition/fees questions or general issues related to being a foreign
student on campus. It is a great resource and you should feel comfortable with
their answers and approach to handling complicated scenarios. And, this office
may be able to introduce you to current students from India whom you can
meet and ask more specific questions about life on campus.
When participating in a guided walking tour of campus, again, make sure to be
at the front of the group so that you don’t miss out on any interesting nuggets
or details. At the dormitormies, ask to see the bathrooms, laundry and kitchen
facilities and study areas in addition to the dorm rooms. And, if your tour
doesn’t include the academic building where you will be spending most of your
time, make sure to stop by later on your own. Finally, go to the student center to
see how students spend their free time.
If you have already been admitted, there may be a chance that you can do an
overnight stay with a current freshman. This type of opportunity will help you
understand what it is like to live on campus. Make sure to ask in advance.
I always suggest having a meal in the main dining hall. By actually eating there,
you will get a better idea of the food options available. Most colleges are now
fairly accommodating to vegetarians but it is best to experience that for yourself.
Also, figure out where the closest grocery stores and markets are located in the
event you would prefer to cook for yourself.
Finally, even if you don’t have time for any of the above, take a moment to sit on
a bench in the center of campus and get a feel for the community, pace and
energy of the university. By simply observing life on campus for an hour, you
will understand whether this place is for you or not.