9 things your students can do on an overnight campus visit

Many of your students will have the opportunity to visit Colleges they are considering and to stay overnight to experience all that the school has to offer. Her Campus published 9 tips that students should use when they are on overnight visits:

  1. Get to know the student body

Is there diversity on campus? Do the students seem friendly? Do the students look like the types of people you would want to hang out with? Mingling with current students can answer a lot of questions your students may have about a particular school.

2. Check out the dining halls

This shouldn’t be a make or break decision but your student should at least test out the food to make sure it is edible. They should also find out about the meal plans, dining hall hours, etc.

3. See where they will be living

There are going to be numerous dorms available to freshman. Some may have been built 100 years ago and some might be new just opening this Fall with all the amenities. It is important to get a lay of the land and rank the dorms based on which ones your student would feel most comfortable living in. Being on campus is the perfect opportunity to check out all the options.

4. Show some early school spirit

By showing some school spirit and experiencing all the activities campus has to offer that weekend, your student will get a great idea of what campus life will be like. Keep in mind that every school is completely different. If it’s a Division I or pretty large school, the campus activities and sporting games will probably be packed. If it’s a Division III or small private school, sports may not be a huge focus. Experiencing all these things during the overnight stay is a great way to figure this out,

5. See what resources the school offers

Your student should take time to thoroughly check out the facilities during your overnight stay. Definitely don’t leave it until move-in day!

If your student knows what their major is ahead of time, start with that department. Don’t just take look around, though. Ask around and learn whether the department has updated technology such as computers, iPads or tablets. Also see what kinds of services they provide. For example, if they are an English major, does the school have a writing workshop, peer review office or student editors that can look over their work? And if they are the type of person who can’t study in their room, don’t forget to check out the library! Many often have private study rooms or quiet rooms to take advantage of.

Other  important facilities to take a look at are the gym, student union and the campus chapel or religious center. Does the university offer work out classes that would interest them such as Zumba, yoga or cycling? Does the student union or student center seem like a fun, relaxing and inviting environment? Does the university hold religious services that they require? Remember, this could potentially be your students home for the next four years — checking to see if it has an abundance of resources is absolutely necessary!

6. Find out the school’s quirks and oddities

Some of the best things about colleges are the weird traditions, quirks and oddities upheld by the student body. At some schools, there are underground tunnels that can be explored. At others, it’s a campus rule to never step on the university seal while walking to class.

Not only can they make the college experience fun and memorable, but learning about the do’s and don’ts of the potential school ahead of time can prevent them from looking like a total freshman when they move to campus. Is wearing a lanyard around their neck a total no? Do students never walk across the quad to class? Make sure to get the scoop!

7. Get familiar with the campus

Having a firm grasp of how to get around campus is absolutely necessary before going to school. Taking advantage of an overnight stay is the perfect time to master the mental campus map.

While they are familiarizing themselve with campus, make sure they are also committing to memory which academic building is which (they will have classes in more buildings than just the one pertaining to their major most likely!) and where the dining and residence halls are as well as sports facilities and the gyms. Also make sure they are able to find their way around campus from more than just their host’s room—college campuses can get confusing!

8. Explore (a little) off campus

As much as your student will absolutely be loving life on campus next fall, remember that at times, they are going to want to get out. An overnight stay is the perfect time to take a glance at the city or town the potential college resides in, as well as to ask whether they could have a fun time there, find things to do and most importantly, whether they feel safe.

If your student doesn’t want to spend too much time away from campus during their overnight stay, a convenient time to take a quick look around is during the journey to and from the school. Even if they just stay in the car, they will get a glimpse of what the surrounding area has to offer!

9. Ask about the logistics

So your student has looked at all the fun and exciting parts of campus. Now it’s time to talk about the logistics. Make sure they touch upon very important aspects of college admissions with a campus representative.

Questions to consider and ask include not just what the university can give to them during their four years, but also what it can provide them beyond their time as a student.

Have a whole laundry list of questions? One tip is to look online before the visit. The time on campus is too precious to be wasted.  Many answers to their questions can easily be found online or with a quick call to the university. For example, gender ratios, admission requirements, and statistics on graduation and job placement.

For most, an overnight visit is the first look at what college is really like. Make sure your student takes the time to really see what that particular college is going to be like before they commit!

This article was adapted from one written for students on Her Campus. Here is a link: http://www.hercampus.com/high-school/9-things-do-potential-colleges-overnight-stay