Visit Colleges Like You’re Buying Real Estate!           by Patti Brugman

By Patti Brugman

Choosing a college is for the long term. Don’t be shy. Try before you buy! Be sure of your decision and then go for it!

1.    “See” the college.  Visiting colleges is the most important factor in deciding whether or not you’ll attend.  If you can’t set foot on campus: watch campus tours on Youtube, have lengthy calls to Admissions officers and area reps, talk with recent graduates (ask Admissions for contacts), talk to your school or independent counselor, and listen to your parents thoughts. Take in all information. In the end, though, remember that the decision is yours.  You are the buyer!

2.    Reserve your visit.  Before you visit, sign up with Admissions online. They will make sure you get a tour, attend the right classes, eat on campus (usually for free), and maybe even spend a night in a dorm!

3.    Visit classes.  Nothing makes such a bigger difference than being a student for a day. Check with Admissions to register.  You’ll see how the professor lectures, how the students respond, and if this is a good fit for your learning style.

4.    Take the tour. If possible, take the official tour.  The student giving the tour is an excellent example of the spirit and dedication of other students on campus. Tour guides tell about traditions and bits of history that you would never find out otherwise. And, of course, you’ll have a great chance to see the whole campus!

5.    Ask the tough questions. Even on pretty campuses with dynamic teachers, ask about student retention, graduation, and employment are very important.  Do students stay past the first year?  80% retention is good.  90% is wonderful.  Do students graduate in 6 years or less (that’s the bases for the stats).  50% is okay, but 70, 80, and 90% are better.  Ask if there is a 4-in-4 graduation guarantee.  And where do student from your first choice major work after graduation?  Ask!

Visiting in person or by virtual methods is essential for deciding if a school is right for you.  Remember, you’re not selling yourself, you’re buying a campus!  Feel like a billionaire (for the duration or your visit.) This is your future home and your college money.  Be bold in the pursuit of your own Perfect U!