Spring is prime time for college campus visits, which as you probably already know, we're a huge believer in when it comes to deciding where you'll be the happiest. Got your list of tour dates all set? Here's a list of our 15 best tips for getting the most out of each stop.
1. Snap photos. Throughout your tour and as you explore on your own, use your phone to take pics. These shots will be invaluable when you're back home and want to recall everything you saw.
2. Collect campus publications. College newspapers and magazines can give you a great glimpse into the goings-on around campus. As you walk through hallways and lobbies, look for anything that's written by or for students.
3. Pick up a local newspaper. Ask your tour guide if there's anywhere on campus or somewhere close by where you can grab a town paper, so you can get to know the college's surroundings even better.
4. Bring home business cards. If you chat with any admissions counselors on your trip, ask for their contact information to make following up easy, should you have any questions. While you're at it, take home any admissions materials they have on hand that you can add to your files.
5. Chat with professors. If you have the opportunity to meet with a professor in your field of interest, go for it! Ask them questions like, What do you love about teaching here?, What types of students thrive in your courses? and Can you tell me the biggest strengths of your program or department?
6. Chat with students. The same goes for current students. Any chance you get, go ahead and ask anything you want to know—about life on the weekends, the food, the location and so on.
7. Check out what's within walking distance. Find out where students can almost always be found when they’re off the grid. Are there are nearby cafes, shops or parks they love to frequent? Make time to drive or walk around. (Here are 15 places you can walk to from Siena.)
8. Notice student pride. As you roam the campus, take note of all the students wearing college apparel...and simply having a good time. Those kinds of scenes can really paint a picture about the community you'd be joining.
9. Look for construction. No, really! If you see any construction trucks or workers with hard hats, it could mean the college wants to improve their facilities or is adding new ones—a great sign about the pride they take in their campus.
10. Peek into collaborative centers and institutes. Not all colleges have designated areas where students and faculty can meet and collaborate. If the one you're visiting has a few, step inside. Are they equipped with innovative meeting rooms and cutting-edge technology? (At Siena, ask us about the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, two of our many centers.)
11. Personalize your visit. See if the admissions team is open to customizing your visit based on your year and interests. If you're into basketball, can you check out a practice or meet the coach? If you're undecided about your major, can you meet with a few students who were in the same boat?
12. Sit in on a class. Preferably in a topic that interests you. But regardless of if it's a class you'd actually enroll in, you'll learn a lot from scoping one out—like how interactive it is, how engaging the professor is, what the size is like and more.
13. Eat in the dining hall. Blend in with current students and make yourself a plate! The dining hall is one of the best places to imagine yourself living there, and of course, to find out how the food tastes. (At Siena, don't miss the gelato bar in Lonnstrom...)
14. Take notes. We don't mean about everything! But if something makes you go "oh wow, that's awesome!" or "hmm, I don't love that," it's important enough to jot it down on your phone, so you can easily jog your memory back home.
15. Pick the right kind of visit. Depending on how far along you are in your college search, you may want to sign up for an Open House or other event for prospective students. Or, you might be better off with a quick campus tour this time around. Here's how you can decide.
Excited to get going? We hope so. This is probably the most fun part of the whole college search process. If you haven't yet been to Siena, schedule a visit now.