How High School Students Can Prepare for a College Visit: Robert Morris University How High School Students Can Prepare for a College Visit | Robert Morris University

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Most high school students visit several colleges and universities in their junior and senior years so that they can build a list of schools to which they’d like to apply. Sometimes students have a specific list of schools in mind, while others want to take a look at most of the schools in a particular area. Whether your list is big or small, here are some tips to keep in mind when visiting universities: 

Take the Tour. A college tour may be general, but it will show you nearly everything you (and your parents) would like to see. This is your time to compare dining halls, classroom buildings, student activity centers, and the student culture.  Just remember that you shouldn’t go at the beginning or the end of the term. You’d like to able to see what the college offers its students, but the first few weeks aren’t the best time to visit. Similarly, you won’t get a good sense of campus life during finals week, when there aren’t as many activities going on and students are clearing out their dorm rooms to head back home for the break. 

Do Your Research and Ask Lots of Questions. Some students only know that a college offers their major. Before you show up for a tour, take a look at their brochures and their website and discover what they have to offer.

Here are some questions you can ask the admissions office, your interviewer, or your tour guide:

  • How many classes are taught by professors and how many are taught by teaching assistants?
  • What kind of lab equipment is available for undergraduates?
  • Are there volunteer opportunities for students?
  • Are programs comprised of both theory and practical experience?
  • Can you take classes abroad?
  • What do students do on the weekends?
  • What is the Greek system like?
  • How would be describe the overall atmosphere on campus?
  • How many students live on campus and how many live off campus?
  • Are there many work-study positions?
  • How’s the food?
  • What kind of transportation is offered?
  • What is the career placement rate for your expected major?
  • Do you offer classes that teach students how to build a resume or offer mock interviews?
  • What companies offer students internships? 

Be prepared to change your mind. Maybe you have your heart set on a large, urban campus. Maybe you think you’d fit in best in a private liberal arts school. It’s still important to visit several schools—even ones that aren’t your first choice. “I always thought that a bigger school would be perfect for me,” says Misty B. “I wanted to be around tons of people, with lots going on, big football games, the whole ‘State U’ experience. But when I went for a tour, I realized that less would actually be more for me. I took a look at a class in an auditorium and knew that wasn’t how I was comfortable learning. I’m glad I figured that out before applying to schools,” she said. 

Visit During the Summer. Consider using your summer break before your senior year to visit some colleges. Many parents and students will try to fit in a visit or two during vacation. The disadvantage of a summer visit is that you won’t get an accurate idea of campus culture. It won’t be filled with students and certain courses may not be taught during the summer break. However, the advantage is that you’ll be able to concentrate on more of the campus’ offerings: the classroom buildings, bookstores, dorm rooms, cafeterias, and labs. 

Good luck on your college visits! Robert Morris University offers tours year-round, with 60 undergraduate programs that include business, engineering, nursing, computers, and communication. Contact us today to schedule a campus tour.