Last week I had the opportunity to tour two of my top colleges: Southern Utah University and California State University – Long Beach. Visiting the campuses provided me with the knowledge and insight I needed to make my college decision. Choosing the right college is a big decision, so I knew I had a lot of research to do before committing. While websites and pictures are helpful, nothing conveys the true vibe of a college more than experiencing the campus in person. With the right planning and preparation, college visits can be a useful tool for high school students on their path to pursuing a higher education. Now that I have experienced several college visits, I hope to share my advice with others.
First, plan ahead and plan early. Senior year is typically a very busy time. As a result, try to stay ahead of the game when it comes to college applications and scheduling college tours. Winter, Spring, and Easter break are all great times to plan visits to out of state schools. My trip was planned two weeks ahead of time, so we did not receive the best possible deals on flights and hotels. However, if you book your trip early, it will be more affordable and easier to manage academically if you are missing school.
Second, prepare your questions ahead of time. During my guided tour at Southern Utah University, my tour guide was eager to answer any questions I presented. Don’t pass up the opportunity to hear from a current student about their experiences. I wish I had prepared more questions ahead of time, to maximize the short time I had to converse with my tour guide.
Third, check out the surrounding city. While a lot of your time will be spent on campus, no one wants to feel stuck. Therefore, it is important to explore the town your college is located in. Find out if the town is student-friendly and safe. Additionally, take note of the city’s transportation system, local entertainment opportunities, and cost of living. Sometimes location can make or break your college decision.
Visiting my top colleges gave me a better understanding of what I was really looking for in a college. Not only did it help me narrow down my options, it allowed me to personally explore future opportunities. Ultimately, I was very impressed with my visit to Cedar City, Utah. As a result, I made my decision to attend Southern Utah University! I strongly recommend scheduling visits to your top colleges because nothing is more helpful than experiencing a campus in person.