PHOTO: At the Career Center, students can pick up small pocket guides filled with questions to ask on college visits.
By Allyson Kang,
As college application season hits, high school students start feeling the pressure to prepare to apply to colleges they will spend years studying at. To confirm which colleges they will apply to, many students go to visit certain universities in person.
Visitation is a major contributor to building up a student’s special list of colleges, and one of the most important factors for the student. To maximize efforts for a successful visit, consider the following tips:
Do your research beforehand.
“It’s nice to come equipped with questions about the university, maybe if they have a major or interest that they want to learn more about,” said Schaller DeSart, a representative of the University of Nevada, Reno.
Many college tour guides will alter their tour route with you based on what subject you want to major in or what you want to see. If you research the university beforehand and communicate specific information, your visit will be more fruitful.
Go while the college is in session.
“Try to avoid going to campus when there are no students around,” said Rachel August-Dapkewicz, a professor at Sacramento State and a college admissions advisor.
Visiting a campus on a weekend or during break results in an entirely different experience that one would have on a normal school day there. August-Dapkewicz advises Davis High students to visit colleges during their spring break, as most university spring breaks are scheduled differently than DHS’s.
Julie Clayton, the Career Center coordinator at DHS, agrees.
“If you’re there when students are there, then you get a chance to really get a feel what it would be like to be there as a student, and you can also talk to students who are walking the halls,” Clayton said.
Look beyond the college campus.
Because most applicants will be spending four or more years of their life at the university of their choice, it’s important to experience the environment beyond the college campus.
“Think about what the town has to offer…. Maybe they have really great hospitals; that way, you can get lots of internships…. You can think bigger and beyond the campus too,” DeSart said.
Taking a look around Los Angeles and discovering a multitude of enjoyable restaurants may inspire you to apply to UCLA. On the other hand, if you bike around the town of Davis and hate the small group of wild turkeys, that may prevent you from applying.
Consider alternatives to college tours.
College tours can be helpful, but some students may not have the ability to complete them. Many colleges allow self-guided tours, which can come in handy if one is unable to set up a tour with someone else.
But before taking out time and money to even visit a college, it may also be a good idea to take a look online. August-Dapkewicz recommends looking at Youvisit.com, a site with over 600 free virtual college tours.
Another great resource for students at DHS is the Career Center, which is located in the All Students Center on campus. Career planning resources are available at no monetary or great temporal cost.
“Come to the Career Center for help, for questions, for resources, pocket guides and college visits,” Clayton said.