What To Do After You Visit A College
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College visits are a valuable part of the college list decision-making process. When you visit a college campus, you get a better idea of its culture, explore its resources and facilities, and sometimes even meet with coaches or faculty members. In addition, you might have an interview while you’re there. College visits allow you to learn more about a college and allow the college to learn more about you.
There can be a lot of build up to a college visit. You are likely feeling excited about touring a new campus and taking another step towards choosing your future college. You might also be feeling anxious about putting your best foot forward.
Preparing for a college visit isn’t the only way to guarantee a successful visit. You also need to know what to do after the visit to maximize your experience and use the connections you’ve established. In this post, we outline the three essentials you need to do after a college visit.
Take Notes and Review Them
As soon as possible after your visit, you should review any notes that you took during your visit and reorganize them in a useful way. Many students find pro/con lists are a great way of accomplishing this.
At the very least, keep a list of things of the things you loved about a school and take note of any things that you didn’t like. Even if you don’t end up putting this particular school on your short list, keeping track of what you liked and didn’t like about it will help you to identify these same qualities in other schools that you might consider.
You should also write down any question you have after visiting the school. While a college visit will certainly answer many questions, sometimes you realize afterwards that new questions arise based on things you saw or heard about on campus. Jot these new questions down while they’re still fresh in your head.
Finally, make sure that you have contact information for everyone you met with while on campus. If you forgot to collect an email address or other contact information, make sure that you at least have a complete list of names. You will probably be able to find contact information on the college website for anyone whose email you missed in person.
Discuss Your Visit With Parents or Mentors
Another important way to process your visit is to discuss it with others. You should share details from your visit with parents or other important mentors. Discuss what you liked and didn’t like about the school, and listen to the outside perspective that these people can lend.
For example, you might have been unimpressed with student housing and may even be tempted to remove the school from your college list because of it. A parent or mentor might be able to help you to identify off-campus housing options and to reassure you that in the bigger picture on-campus housing will be less important compared to the classes you take, the friends you meet, and the person you grow to be while in college.
Talking with your parents and other important mentors in your life will help you to gain more perspective about the bigger picture and might also lead to important networking opportunities. If you become really interested in a specific school, your parents or other mentors might be able to put you in touch with contacts who know current students or recent grads from the same school.
Write Thank You Notes and Stay In Touch
Finally, be sure to write a personalized thank you note to each person who helped you during your visit. This includes the person who ran the information session you attended, any professors whose classes you visited, and any other faculty or staff with whom you met. It is best to email these notes as it makes it easier for someone to respond to you in the moment.
This note should include a brief thank you and also one or two specific examples from your visit that show your enthusiasm and appreciation for the school. If you visited a class, you might note one or two things you learned in it that you found really interesting. If you went on a tour, you might note something humorous that happened on it, or a part of the campus that you really liked.
Writing this note serves two purposes. First, it is evidence of your personality, showing your respect for the process and your gratitude to others. Second, it helps to remind these people of you, keeping you fresh in their minds during admissions season. You never know when these people might be involved in screening applicants or have input into the admissions process. Keeping your name fresh in their minds can sometimes result in an admissions edge later on.
If you decide to apply to the college, follow up with another note closer to the application deadline. Reinforce your gratitude, note that you have decided to apply and hope to join the incoming class, and take the opportunity to ask any questions that have arisen since your visit. This again will reinforce your interest and keep your name fresh.
Visiting colleges is an important part of the college choice process. By visiting a college campus, you gain a better idea of its student culture, its campus life, and its facilities. The advantages of a college visit can be maximized even more if you take the time afterwards to organize your impressions of the school, to discuss them with the important people in your life, and to follow through with connections at the school who might be able to help you later on.
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