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Campus Visits should start and end at the Admissions Office. PERIOD!
Whether you are on campus for a formal Open House, have arranged for a student-led tour and/or Admission Overview Session, are attending a Department Overview, have a scheduled interview, are meeting with an athletic coach, or decided to drop by because you saw a sign for the school on your way elsewhere, checking in with Admissions personnel is the ONLY way to guarantee that your name, and therefore, your interest in the school has been noted. This is called demonstrated interest and it's actually important, regardless
of whether or not the school says it is.
While it is neither necessary, nor practical to visit every college, I do recommend visiting at least 1/3 of those on your initial list, paying particular attention to those things that set each school apart from one another. In all honesty, once you've walked a couple of campuses and sat through a handful of overviews, everything starts to blend together. For this reason, it's always a good idea to take any materials or handouts that are made available to you and
to write up a PROS and CONS list for each school either while you're touring or immediately after your visit while your memories and impressions are intact.
The following is my list of DOs and DON'Ts while on campus:
DON'T wear cut-off shirts, ripped jeans, holey shoes, too-tight clothing, and the like. Whether you're interviewing or not, you
should dress to impress.
DO wear informal, seasonally appropriate casual clothes. Even if
you are interviewing or meeting with a coach or department head, you don't need to be in a suit or jacket and tie, especially if it's 100 degrees and you're also taking a walking tour of campus.
DON'T show up not knowing why this school is of interest to you. If your parent(s) or a counselor added this particular school to your college list, you had better have done your own research by closely looking at its website before showing up for a tour/visit.
DO come prepared to ask questions ... of the students. Ask your student tour guides (and random students you see in the library,
the cafeteria, walking to classes) where they hail from; what other colleges they applied to; why they chose the school that they're at; what their majors are; what their favorite experience to-date is; whether or not they've lived on campus; what, if anything, they would change about their school.
DON'T hide in the back of the pack while out on tour. The farther you stand away from your tour guide, the less you'll hear what s/he has to say.
DO take notes of the things you see and hear while on tour, including things that may seem trivial at the time, like the predominant style of architecture throughout campus, or the number and location of on-campus eateries, the size of the dorm rooms and whether they're air conditioned, popular traditions, transportation options both on and off campus, the cost of a washer and dryer, whether or not there's a printing limit and the cost and accessibility of printing, etc.
DON'T shy away from an opportunity to interview or meet one-on- one with a school representative, coach or administrator who can
be an advocate for you.
DO bring a copy of your resume with you and have a few questions
to ask about the school's academic programs, such as what are the most popular majors, how many students have access to internships and/or co-op experiences, how active is the school's alumni network?