For students and parents alike, the quest to find the perfect college often starts with a fall campus visit. When setting up those college tours, it’s important for students to know what they want to find out before setting foot on campus.
“Visiting colleges is a crucial step in finding your fit,” said Jackie Hoefler, senior associate director of admissions Lake Forest College. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially of the current students you meet—like your tour guide—they will become a huge resource in getting to know the campus environment. If possible, sit in on a class or meet with a faculty member to get a sense of the academic culture and the interaction between professors and students.”
Hoefler shares her top 10 tips for prospective students—and their families—to get the most out of each college visit.
These are insights gained through experience during her years helping students in the college selection process. Her goal is to provide support to students and parents so they can make the right choice.
1. Do some research. Come prepared with a general awareness of the type of school you’re visiting and a list of specific questions.
2. Read the handouts. The materials you’re given on campus contain a lot of important information. Keep these for comparison.
3. Attend a class. Look for a class in an area of interest so you can get a feel for the academic style at each college.
4. Speak up. Parents shouldn’t do all the talking. This is the student’s experience.
5. Take notes. These will help when you’re comparing schools later on.
6. Wander off. Take time to veer off the prescribed tour path and talk to students in a casual setting. They’ll be able to answer a lot of your questions.
7. Open up. Share your interests, talents, and goals with your guides so they can show you the aspects of campus that align with your needs.
8. Take a moment. Envision yourself on the campus you are touring. Can you see yourself there for four years?
9. Ask questions. Talk with as many staff and faculty as possible. The more perspectives on the school you can get, the better.
10. Enjoy the process. This is an exciting and tumultuous time of life full of big decisions, but it’s also an incredible opportunity to explore the kind of person you are and start to realize your goals for the future.
“There’s no need to stress out about college visits,” Hoefler said. “Just relax and take it all in.”
Fall open houses at Lake Forest College are scheduled on Monday, October 12 and 26. Register online at lakeforest.edu/visit or call 847-735-5000.
Submitted by Lake Forest College, a liberal arts institution located at 555 N. Sheridan Road in Lake Forest, a half-mile from Lake Michigan on Chicago’s North Shore. Lake Forest College offers 30 undergraduate major and minor programs in business, finance, humanities, natural sciences, pre-law, pre-medicine, social sciences, and more. Payscale.com named Lake Forest College 11th in the nation among small colleges for the best return on investment in 2014 and #1 among similar colleges in Illinois. Learn more at lakeforest.edu.
Note: Opinion articles represent the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of Daily North Shore.