College Visits and Showing Interest: How to Start

By Mr. Jake Doll, Director of College Counseling

This blog is the second part of series on college visits. To read the first entry, click here.

Visiting and effectively communicating with admission offices is a great step to differentiating oneself as an applicant.  Meaningful visits help gauge appropriate fit and indicate how one may expect to live and thrive on a campus.  Colleges and universities track visitation, email interaction, connection at a college fair or interview in your home area, as well as other “touches” they receive from students along the way. This demonstrated interest is key to institutions making their own informed decision about an applicant.

When arranging a visit, an institution may use an online scheduling system found directly on their website. You will typically find these under the “Admissions” portion of the site.  Look for any link related to “visits” or “visiting”.  Use them if they are available, as they are the most convenient means for you and the institution to set something up. Some offices may still prefer a phone call or use another means to get you on campus. Just follow the protocols offered and be your sweetest self when communicating.

Visit whenever possible. Distance and cost can be a factor, so if you are unable to justify a visit before applying, show your interest to an admission office by reaching out in meaningful ways. This allows you to elaborate about yourself as an applicant and to gain valuable perspective about the institution.

Mr. Doll and a group of students on a recent tour of NYU

York, PA has a vast number of colleges (all types, shapes, sizes) within a two-hour drive. I highly recommend taking advantage of those within close proximity to your home early on. This will help you learn a bit more about what you really want in that ideal campus, no matter its location.  You may have seen that I took students to visit NYU and Columbia recently.  We took a self-guided tour at NYU but still were able to speak with students as we navigated and learned.  It was unique, as NYU and NYC share so many spaces.  Every campus offers something different.  The setting dictates a great deal of this.  What setting are you looking for?  Maybe you prefer to start with the location and see what matches you can find for academic program, size, reputation, and any other factors that are meaningful to YOUR search.  Just take time to meet the people and learn all you can and you are well on your way.