Visiting colleges is crucial to making a good decision for your next four years (or less) of schooling. I strongly strongly strongly strongly encourage doing it if you haven’t already (and perhaps going again even if you have). Getting a feel for the people (administration, current & prospective students, profs etc alike), receiving information about programs and people, seeing the campus, understanding the facilities and resources, and most importantly, being able to talk to real live people in real live person, is so ridiculously important. Just like you wouldn’t buy and move into a house without actually visiting it, you shouldn’t haphazardly choose where your tuition goes and move into a college without visiting, either. (I often think about how many ultimate discs or pianos or cars I could buy with the money that’s going into my college tuition and sigh. Repeatedly.)
I highly recommend attending schools during their admit program/days/whatever fancy name they use (like Harvard’s is Visitas and MIT’s is CPW and Rice’s is Owl Days but you know, it’s fine) because that’s whenyou’ll meet the highest concentration of other admitted students (basically, you can scope out your potential classmates and see what sort of other students were admitted and if you think you’d jive with them) and that’s also when the school will be pumping out its highest concentration of resources for prospective students (aka more free goodies! but more seriously, that’s going to be the best time to find upperclassmento answer your questions honestly because they volunteer to do it, and other important people like professors/admissions counselors/program directors/finaid, etc.)
Also! If you can stay overnight, do so. That’s the best time to actually see whether campus is safe at night, whether paths are brightly lit, if there are noise problems, what the dorms are like (aka are they partying hard or studying quietly heh), etc.
I’ve noticed the ability to visit colleges depends mainly on 3 things: your academic availability, your monetary means, and your parents’ opinion. I’ll advise you guys on how to work out the best circumstances for the first two and drop some tips for convincing the parentals!
Seniors. I wanted to share a story, a year after it happened. You can replace everything in the following paragraphs with things that have already happened in the past few months/will happen in the next month.
So, you’ve got to write an essay or two or twenty. Even if, like me, you like to write, essays probably aren’t your favorite flavor of the written word, much like licorice is of jelly beans. Additionally, you have to write about yourself (yikes).
You’ll likely hit a couple of prompts that stump you. I personally had a lot of trouble with coming up with an essay response to The Big One (the Common App main essay, dun dun dun).
We’ve been told to be organized since we were in diapers. “Stack the bricks after you’re done playing with them!” “Put the baby back in the stroller, don’t leave her on the floor!” “This is why you put the toothbrush on the rack–so it doesn’t fall in the toilet.”
…You get the idea. If you’re a neat freak, now’s your time to shine. If you’re a disorganized mess, this is the best time in your life not to be. Here’s some tips for those of you who are messes.
I get a lot of questions from baby juniors (now seniors, but will always be my juniors) about the giant monstrosity known as college apps. I’ve been asked about everything ranging from schools to interviews to recommendations and essays. I may not have years of experience, but I just went through the same process last year + want you guys to do the best you can, so here’s some advice!