The College Visit: Summer Style

Any Time is a Good Time: The value of a campus visit cannot be overstated. The chance to walk the bricks, project yourself into spaces, see and hear the people with whom you would have the chance to live and learn- none of these things are possible through the viewing of a video tour. So valuable in fact are campus visits, that any time is a good time to go, provided you manage your expectations regarding the kinds of information you will collect. One needs to anticipate fewer students and faculty on campus during spring and winter breaks, for instance, but the buildings will still be there to help shape your sense of the physical space and a tireless admission office staff will likely be ready to welcome you at the campus threshold.

Yes, Summer Too: The summer season, contrary to popular belief, is an excellent time to explore the prospective colleges that are of interest to you. Students are free of the concerns associated with missed class time, extracurricular responsibilities are few and, more generally, families are ready to go!

What To Do: Take advantage of formal programming options including campus tours, information sessions, and open house events. Talk to people, ask questions, be friendly, and take notes. If your college swing includes a number of stops, your experiences will begin to run together. Maintaining a visit journal can help you organize your observations. An on-campus visit is an opportunity for you to experience first-hand what it is like to be a student at a college. Eat in a dining hall, people watch on the campus green, and explore the local town. A visit is also a chance for you to make connections with people who may have some hand in the review of your application. Remember that first impressions are important, confidence and maturity are impressive, and sending thank you notes to those with whom you’ve had the opportunity to talk are appreciated.

Making the Most of Your Time: “What kinds of questions should I ask?” We hear this a lot from rising seniors. The complete answer is unique for each student, but certain types of questions help a student cut to the heart of a campus’s personality and culture better than others. Steer clear of anything that results in a “yes” or “no,” avoid questions that have answers easily found on a campus website, and seek discussion which allows the person with whom you are speaking to share memories and anecdotes from personal experience. The list of questions below is a great start!

In the event that we can help as you plan your summer visits, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Questions to Make a Good Visit Great!

  1. Can you tell me about a few campus traditions that shape student culture?
  2. Do you have a favorite location on campus? Why?
  3. What are some of the campus issues around which the student body rallies?
  4. Is the academic environment here competitive or collaborative?
  5. What was it about (insert campus name) that told you you would be happy and successful here as a student/teacher?
  6. What kind of student is most at home on (insert campus name) campus?
  7. Can you tell me about two or three recent headlines from your campus newspaper?
  8. What types of opportunities exist for undergraduate research?
  9. How would a typical freshman engage with your Career Services office?
  10. What is a typical day in the life of a student like?
  11. What is the social scene like here on campus and in the local town/city/community?
  12. Do people go home on weekends? Is there a lot “to do

Mrs. Jennifer Scott, Director of College Counseling
Norfolk Academy

Summer 2019