Thursday, May 16, 2019

4 Reasons to Visit Colleges Early

When it comes to college, one size does not fit all. Why? Because everyone has a different vision of what the perfect college experience actually looks like. Before committing four years of your life to a particular place, you want to be sure it reflects the experience you’re envisioning.
That’s where visiting campus comes in. All colleges, including Illinois, offer campus visit programs, and the earlier you attend these programs, the more beneficial they can be. Today we’re giving you four reasons why.

aerial view of Champaign-Urbana

1. You can visit more colleges.

This one’s obvious. Cramming a ton of campus visits into a small amount of time (like your senior year when you’re already juggling so much you have to remind yourself to breathe) can be tricky. The earlier you start visiting colleges, the more colleges you’ll have time to visit—and the more colleges you visit, the more you can narrow down your list.

Admissions Pro Tip

Many colleges also offer visits throughout the summer. If the school year is proving too hectic for you and your family, try organizing visits during the months of June, July, and August.

students walking across campus

2. You have time to learn what you’re looking for.

Visiting colleges can be overwhelming. Since you may not know what to expect, let’s start by breaking down what a typical campus visit looks like.
Your visit is going to include some kind of meeting with admissions, whether that’s a one-on-one discussion with a counselor or a group presentation. You’ll also tour some or all of campus (the size of the school will dictate how much you see). Other common visit opportunities include talking to current students, meeting with staff or faculty within your area of interest, seeing a residence hall and room, and sitting in on a class.
While it can be a lot to take in within a short amount of time, all of these activities provide insight into the college’s personality and what it has to offer you. As you continue to visit colleges, you’ll get a better sense of what to look for based on the things you want from your college experience, making it easier to compare and contrast. 

Admissions Pro Tip

Create a standard list of questions to answer during each visit. If you’re not sure what to ask or are looking for suggestions, feel free to use our College Visit Guide.

student at an advising appointment

3. You can ensure you’re on the right path academically.

The earlier you know what you need to do to set yourself up for success, the better.
Different colleges—and even different majors—have different expectations when it comes to your high school experience, including the courses you need to take, the grades you need to make, and any other endeavors you should strive to achieve. 
When you visit a college, you can receive such guidance and answers to any questions you have directly from an admissions counselor or individual within your area of interest. This new connection can also prove to be a great resource for you in the future.

Admissions Pro Tip

If the campus visit program you’ve signed up for doesn’t already include a one-on-one meeting with an admissions counselor or someone related to your intended major, contact the school to see if it’s possible to set one up.

Foellinger Auditorium lit up during Diwali

4. You can visit colleges more than once.

The ability to visit the colleges at the top of your list twice is a wonderful luxury to have.
If you think you’ve found the college for you, visiting that college again will likely give you the last bit of reassurance you need to accept your offer. If you’re torn between two colleges, taking a second trip to both of them will allow you to compare them one last time, and chances are your decision will become much more clear. Either way, that second visit is key.

Admissions Pro Tip

Colleges are always changing too, so that second visit can update you on what they’ve been up to, including new facilities, rankings, and more.

Now that you know the perks of visiting early, make a list of the colleges you want to see most and start signing up. You can typically view different visit options and arrange your visit within the admissions section of a college’s website. 

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