Choosing the Right College is all in the Details
St. Charles Company Helps Students Prepare for College Campus Visits
June 1, 2005: ST. CHARLES, MO – For a high school student preparing for college, summer can be a far cry from a vacation. These students spend many hours of their summer visiting college campuses and trying to make the decision that will have a strong impact on their life in the coming years- which college to attend.
There is so much to learn in these campus visits, but with a little bit of advanced planning, students and parents can make the most of these visits and get all of the information they will need to make their decision. Greg Rupp, President of Educational Funding and Financial Aid Services, recommends that students take a few things into consideration while preparing for their campus visits:
• Ask questions. Lots of them. It is said that there are no stupid questions. Never is that more true than when you are preparing to make an investment as important as your college education. If it is on your mind, it is worth asking. Treat campus visits like fact finding missions, and you will be off to a great start.
• Keep an open mind. It is possible that you think you have already made your choice before even visiting any campuses. Perhaps your cousin attended this college and loved it. You’re not your cousin. It is best to approach each campus visit with a clean slate, free of all preconceived notions.
• Talk to current students. No one will give you a better snapshot of the university than the students who are currently attending it. Talk to students about what they like and dislike about the college, for the most honest opinions available.
• Understand the admissions process. Within each university, specific departments often have different admissions requirements. For instance, performing arts schools often require students to audition. It is important to learn everything that you can about what the school is looking for, as well as the various deadlines, interviews, and auditions that you may have to complete to be considered for admission
• Get a feel for the classroom environment. Is cutting edge technology on the school’s priority list? What is the average class size? Is the school more concerned with increasing enrollment, or providing individual attention to students? It is important to choose a classroom environment that is consistent with your needs and expectations as a student.
• Investigate the campus environment. Campus environment can be just as important as classroom environment when it comes to your comfort level. Make an effort to understand the various campus organizations available, and the programs the university offers students.
• Visit the financial aid office. When considering a college, it is important to understand what will be expected of you- both financially, and academically. Some schools may offer a better financial aid package for your family’s needs. Determine what will be expected of you and your family, and analyze your ability to meet those expectations realistically.
According to Rupp, the most important thing students can do to make the most of their campus visit is to actively seek out information. Develop a strong sense of the community and culture of the campus, and you will be better able to make your decision.