Special to WWFHA, pro-staffer Kiersten Murphy, Murphy College Consultants
By this point in the college process, you likely have identified some schools that you would like to apply to, or at the very least, want to explore further. The best and easiest way to get to know a school better is by visiting it. But is it worth it to do so in the summer? If it is the best time for you and your family to make the trip, then it is better than not going at all. Right?
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you plan your trips:
1. Recognize that the college campus will not feel as alive as it might during the academic year. While some students may be on campus for classes or internships, it will not have the same level of vibrancy as it does during the school year. If you go into it recognizing the limitations, then you won’t judge it for being “too quiet”. Make sense? The upside could be lots of parking and nice weather. The downside could be brown grass, quiet campuses and lots of construction.
2. Explore the admission visit calendar. If you select a late August date, the college might be back in session by then. If so, then it is a win-win situation. You will still be on summer break, but college students will be back in school. Don’t bank on this working out, but if it does, great!
3. Many colleges measure/track the level of your demonstrated interest when you apply, so it behooves you to register for an official campus tour through admissions if you are making the effort to step foot on campus. Yes, they do pay attention to these little things. No, going and walking around on your own is not the same thing as taking the official campus tour. So if you are going, sign up with admissions and attend both the tour and info session. Interview if it is offered. You also will want to meet with the coach if you plan to play hockey in college.
4. After the tour, allow time to explore the town or community surrounding the campus. You will have a better sense of fit if you do so.
5. You will want to dress in a manner that shows that you care about your appearance while also being comfortable. It is not the time to wear Lululemon, but instead, wear something that you might wear when going out to dinner with your parents or grandparents. Consider a summer dress, skirt or shorts…but not too short. No belly shirts. No sweatpants. No need for high heels. Sandals or cute sneakers are fine. Jeans and a t-shirt are fine for a campus tour, but not an interview.
6. I encourage you to take notes during or after the tour, as well as capturing some of your time on campus via photos. Being able to reflect on photos and notes can be helpful when you need to write your essays about why you wish to attend the college.
7. Last but not least – write thank you notes to coaches that you have met, or admission counselors that you have interviewed with during your visit. A handwritten note is always nicer than an email.
Have fun exploring!