Why visiting colleges is more effective than browsing the website

Sienna Martinez ‘21, stands in front of Loyola University Chicago sign on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018.

Sienna Martinez '21

Sienna Martinez ‘21, stands in front of Loyola University Chicago sign on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018.

Sienna Martinez, Class Writer

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Around this time, many students are visiting several college campuses with their parents to explore the diverse settings that they have to offer for their own college experience. When going on a college visit, the campus offers a first-hand view of your potential college or university. The benefits to this experience are that if you only spend time browsing a college’s website, you will only get a small piece of the college, not the whole picture. During a college visit, you get the opportunity to experience a college through an actual student’s campus life by seeing a college dorm, visiting the science labs, dining halls and get a taste for the overall atmosphere.

Before touring a campus, ask yourself,  “Where do I want the campus to be situated?” Would you prefer a large city like Columbia or the University of San Francisco, or a college town with an atmosphere that revolves around the college itself, like Notre Dame or Michigan? Other factors that could be important to some students include study abroad programs, athletics and affordability. Remember to keep an open mindset and consider the academic programs that could be of interest to you.

It is always helpful to bring a notebook or journal to write down any immediate reactions towards the campus that you may have. These notes will be useful to you when reflecting back on your thoughts about the multiple colleges that you have visited. Preparing some questions is also important in order to connect with your tour guide and find out more information about the university or college. Students tend to get more excited and become eager to begin the admission process once they have seen the campus.

Remember that it is never too early to start visiting colleges. The earlier you visit, the sooner you will get a feel for the college of your choice, giving you time to prepare for the needs necessary for acceptance.

The best time to go on a college tour is during the fall or spring semester. If you tour during the week, you get to see the full swing of college life, in session. Depending on the time of year you will be going on your college visit, take into account the weather that you will be experiencing. This means dressing comfortably and accordingly. Your parents, or at least one parent, should try to accompany on the college visit. Having your parent there can help you decide what will be the best environment for you as well as discussing the varying viewpoints with a trustful guide.

Individually speaking, the knowledge that I have cultivated from touring colleges is the importance of individuality in a global society. I have learned the importance of contributing to the Xavier community within and outside of the classroom as well as setting my college expectations high throughout my high school years. As a result, I feel that I am more diverse in contrast to the students who are also applying. I have realized the importance of building up my high school resume for college applications and the exact requirements for admittance from touring colleges.

Sienna Martinez ‘21
The Loyola Marymount Campus has a very walkable campus that offers an easy way to get around on a tour.

Sienna Martinez ‘21
The Loyola Marymount University dorms hidden behind the palm trees.

Make sure to listen to your intuition while taking the time to look around and picturing yourself there. It is always a good idea to visit your future college and shape your own impressions. So, pack your bags because your future university awaits you!


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