By Marin Harrington ’21
Deciding on a college can be challenging but a campus visit can seal the deal. Here’s how to prepare.
Do some self-assessing.
Prior to your visits, ask yourself what you want in a college. Large or small student body? How far from home? What majors are you interested in? Touring schools that match your answers can make choosing a school much less overwhelming. But don’t hesitate to stretch your criteria a bit, either—you might be surprised! I chose Central for its small student-to-professor ratio and how genuine every student and faculty member I spoke with was.
It’s devastating to tour a school you love and later learn it’s unaffordable. Many schools offer scholarships and sometimes list them online. Research these beforehand. Your bank account—and heart—will thank you later. When you are on campus, make time to meet with the financial aid office, too! They will be happy to meet with you and help you prepare. Central offers some fantastic scholarships. In fact, 99 percent of the student body gets some type of scholarship.
Ask questions during your tour. This is your chance to learn as much as you can about the college you’re visiting. And talk to students. They know e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g!
Diverse perspectives pay off.
Do you know a student or an alum of the college? If possible, meet up with them during your visit or reach out afterward to discuss their experiences and any additional questions you might have. If you decide to visit Central, look me up. I’ll be happy to answer your questions!
Wear walking shoes.
It won’t matter how charming the campus is if all you can think about is your aching feet.
Practice being a college student for a day and arrange to sit in on a course once your tour is done. You’ll see the school’s classroom dynamic firsthand and can talk to professors about what the college can offer you academically. After sitting in on an English course, I really knew Central was the place for me.
Lose your parents for a night.
Colleges are happy to schedule an overnight visit for you. It’s a great way to feel what it’s like to live in the dorms and talk to students about campus life.
When you visit the school that’s right for you, you’ll just know. Tuition rates, majors and student testimonies are all important, but if you can simply see yourself at a school, you may need to search no further.
About the Author
Hi! My name is Marin Harrington and I am a second-year English and communication studies major from Omaha, Nebraska. I currently work as a writing tutor in Central’s Tutoring and Writing Center and am a member of the Dutch Brigade and Poetry Club. Outside of class, I can usually be found in the library with my nose in a book, power walking around Pella or drinking hot chocolate from Central’s Geisler Café. I would love to hear from you! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions about Central.