Top 5 College Visit Mistakes
1. Not planning ahead
You'll invest a lot in these visits, so try not to do them too spontaneously. The last thing you want to do is arrive to find that the campus is closed down for the Memorial Day holiday or that it is parents' weekend and all the local hotel rooms are booked.
Start with the schools' websites to get the times of the information sessions and tours. At some schools these are available every day, and all you will need to do is show up. Others will offer fewer options that require advanced registration. Planning to visit on a Sunday? Most schools don't do official programming on these days but may provide directions for a walking tour that you can download and print prior to arrival or follow on a smart phone.
2. Not making the most of the time on campus
While it's good to attend the officially sanctioned campus tour and information session, a great visit will also include things like eating a meal in a dining hall, sitting in on a class, meeting with a professor or a coach, walking around campus on your own, picking up a student newspaper, looking at the bulletin boards around you, and even interviewing if that is an on-campus option.
You won't be able to do many of these if you don't schedule them in advance (see mistake number one!). That can make it harder to know if this school is really a good choice for you, but it also means that you are missing some opportunities to impact your application in a positive way. A focused student with some clear academic goals might impress the department director in a one-on-one meeting, while a vocal class participant could prompt a professor to email a note of support to an admissions colleague.Check out my list of advice to avoid all five of the top college visit mistakes.