Posts Tagged college visits

College Acceptances, Visits, and Impact!

jesse-85You finally found out if you got in or not!! This is such an exciting time for you, your family, and your friends- Here’s a video with some tips on what to do now that you know where you got in!

Don’t judge a College by its Cover

khadijah-85One of the most important things in the college process  is visiting the colleges. Even with all the research you have done, there’s just nothing like being there. Often, schools will pay to fly you out. Take advantage of this! The best way to know if you want to go to a school for four years, some of the most important and influential years in your life, is to go there. I learned so much about myself and what I wanted by seeing the colleges in action, so to speak. It’s not just about the academics- your college experience will also include outside the classroom.

My three top choices were in completely different areas. Williams is in the absolutely beautiful, secluded Williamstown, MA, Columbia is in the bustling, culture rich and vibrant, New York City, and Harvard is in the cute little charming town of Cambridge, MA, minutes away from the surrounding Boston area. Academics wise, I couldn’t go wrong. 

I loved that Williams was quiet and secluded, and I believed it would be a wonderful way for me to keep focused on my studies. However, when I visited, I realized spoiled by California’s effortless transportation system, I knew I’d get restless in the sleepy, tiny town of Williamstown. And I felt I wouldn’t get the cultural experience I craved in such a small environment.

That said, Columbia might seem like the obvious choice. It’s bustling with culture – with NYC, the United Nations, Brooklyn, thousands of cultural events, and the teeming nightlife just minutes away, no one would STAY on CAMPUS. It’d be a waste of NYC! And I knew I wanted the choice to stay on campus, that I wanted the college campus experience, and I knew I wouldn’t get that at Columbia. Ultimately, I didn’t choose Columbia because it was too busy and hectic.

Ultimately, I chose Harvard because I liked the “feel.” I liked all three colleges, but ultimately, Harvard felt right to me. I was able to see myself there for four years. I felt comfortable there. There isn’t a way to describe except that it seemed like the right place for me.

No matter how much you read and research about a college, no matter how much you think you know about it, visiting is the best way to know. There are some things you can’t measure in a college guide. I loved Williams and Columbia, but at  Harvard I felt right at the school and in the city.

Sometimes, a step onto a campus is all you need.

But it looked so nice in the brochure…

lysa-85Now, ask yourself a few questions. Would you move into a house you’ve never seen before? Would you buy a car before you test drove it? Probably not!

Now, consider the college you think is the right one for you. Would you go to a college you’ve only heard about, read about, or seen pictures of in a brochure? Would you go to a college just because it’s an Ivy League, or another college just because it has a reputation for being one of the biggest party schools? I surely hope not! Please DO NOT MAKE THAT MISTAKE!  

Don’t choose a school just for its reputation or name, many people have made that mistake. Yes, I’m sure there are some college students who maybe saw their school for the first time the day they moved in to college, but is that really what you want to do? Do you want to be having your parents move you in, and you’re both figuring out what your college is all about for the first time? No! Just like most things in life, you won’t know if a school is the right one for you, until you visit!

You must visit every college you are highly considering attending or have been accepted to. At the same time do not rule out a college that you think you might not like before you at least visit.

I know it seems as though college brochures contain everything you must need to know about a school. But the truth is: THEY DON’T! It is not always bright and sunny outside a college, nor is everyone walking around, books in hand, smiling happily as they walk to and from class or meals. This is quite the contrary! Most college students are extremely stressed out, and it snows and rains at my school ( in the Northeast) more than I’ve seen sunshine for the past six months of my life! Do not be fooled by the happy college students or campus on the cover of a brochure! Of course everything looks nice in a pamphlet…it’s supposed to, so that you want to go there.

When visiting colleges, make sure you truly get a feel for each school. Every school has a different personality, just like every person on the campus, including yourself. Those personalities must match one another. There may be some schools you visit that just don’t quite seem to fit your needs and that’s okay. You have to find a school with a personality that fits your own.

Don’t just take the campus tour they offer to every visiting prospective student. Consider asking a current student to maybe show you around. After all, someone in admissions once told me, college students love to boast about themselves and their schools. It’s true! We want you on our campus, so ask us lots of questions when you visit! And make sure you eat in the dining halls and use some of the bathrooms! Make sure you see the dorms, and the gym! Make sure you visit the laundry room and the snack bar! You want to make sure that you are able to live comfortably in the college you choose. After all, it will be your home for the next four years. So, make your visit about more than just classes, and historical buildings that the admissions office will show you in your tour.

You’ve always heard, not to judge a book by its cover. Applying to college is the same way. Do not judge a college by a brochure.

I personally, ended up at one of  the last schools I planned on attending when I applied to college in high school. I always thought I’d go to Yale, or maybe stay in state at FSU or UF, but then I got into those schools, and Williams. I visited them all, and realized that Williams was really where I felt the most at home. Nothing else mattered once I visited, because it felt right! 

And you too will know when you find the school for you, and it just feels right! Go with your gut feeling !

Big Brother

ashley-85Growing up there was always that one person who was with me through everything and that was my big brother. When it came to me growing up and going to college that did not change.  My brother was there every step of the way. He helped me sort through all the information, he took two weeks in a row off of work to drive to me to my college visits, he gave me his input on each school as well as others we did not visit, he drove me to my school on move-in day, he set up all my electronics, and as my freshman year is quickly coming to an end he will be there to take me back home.

Going to college was not just a big step for me, but it was for my brother too, and we were learning together. My brother did not go to college and stayed close to home so that he was close to me.  Although he would never admit it, he was sad that I had grown up and was leaving like we always talked about doing. I would have never made it anywhere without my brother, and although I am now in college and on my own, I know he is always there whenever I need him.

The Big V — The College Visit

ashley-85College visits can be exciting, nervewracking , scary, and crazy all at the same time, and it is not one of those things that gets easier with time.

Before your visit, contact your admissions counselor and discuss what you specifically want to see and ask about other unique features the campus offers. You can do either visit days or do an individual visit. I did both and personally prefer the individual visit, but I think it is good to experience both. Your admissions counselor can provide you with dates for visit days.

While you are there: ask questions, talk to students, visit the library, and, if you can, visit a class. Some schools also provide overnight stays, which I never did but would also suggest. If you play a sport or instrument I would also suggest visiting a game or concert. 

I would also suggest exploring the town or city in which the school resides – that way you know what you will and will not have if you go there.

Remember, this is just as much a first impression for the school as it is for you, but enjoy your tour. You will know when you find the perfect school for you.