Juniors: Interviews, overnights, shadows... What kind of opportunities do your colleges offer for visits?

Interviews, overnights, and shadow programs… Colleges offer prospective students many ways of learning about their campuses. Part of preparing properly for a successful college road trip is understanding what opportunities are available at each of the colleges in which you're interested. Here's what to look for:

  • ·     Group information sessions. In these sessions, an admission officer will provide an overview of the college -- the school’s history, academic programs, undergraduate life, athletics, the application process, and financial aid. Info sessions last at least an hour and include a Q&A session for students and parents. (Next week, we'll have some suggested questions for you to ask.)
  •        Campus tours. Walking tours of the college usually follow the information session and provide a general overview of the campus -- a library, a dorm room, classrooms, student union. Led by students, they typically last up to an hour and a half and take place rain or shine . . . or blizzard. Wear comfortable shoes.
  • ·       Special tours. Tours of specialized facilities such as art studios, science labs, or athletic departments will usually require prior arrangement. Check the website to see if such tours are offered and sign up early. Or you can follow up the official campus tour by walking over and looking around on your own.
  •         Overnight stays. Some schools provide prospective applicants with the opportunity to make an overnight visit, staying with current students in the dorm, eating in the dining hall, and attending some classes. There are usually a limited number of these, and they may be confined to seniors or admitted students. But another approach is to check with friends or alumni of your high school to see if you could do an overnight with them.
  •        Interviews. Check the website and sign up early if the college offers interviews! They may take place one-on-one or with a group of students.
  •       Class visits. Many admission offices will arrange for you to sit in on a class and/or meet with faculty members. Lists of available classes to visit can be found online.
  •       Shadow programs. You can be a “college student for a day” by shadowing a current student— attending class, meeting with professors, and hanging out at the student union. These are usually limited to high school juniors and seniors.
  •       Specialized tours and visits. In addition to general campus tours, some schools offer introductory visits for first- generation college students, in-depth tours for students studying specific subjects such as the sciences or engineering, informal student forums, and daylong host programs for families of prospective students.

Check the colleges’ websites to learn what opportunities the colleges offer prospective students and sign up as early as possible, especially for interviews, any specialized programs or overnights. And get yourself on the colleges’ mailing lists so that you are sent invitations to programs appropriate for you.

For more information about college visits, including questions for tour guides and current students, see Chapter 9, “College Visits” in College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step.


Add comment