When should you visit college?

A “skybridge” at Portland State University.

Courtney McDonald | Student Life Editor

March 15, 2019

This time of year is extremely stressful for high school seniors.

College admissions decisions are slowly trickling in through the month of March, and many students are struggling to figure out what school will ultimately be the best fit for them, once they know of all of their options.

Visiting different campuses is the best way to get the true feel of a school. Campus tours allow prospective students to see what kind of people attend certain schools, as well as the dynamic of a particular campus.

The problem resides in the timing of such college visits. Visiting a college campus before receiving an acceptance can often feel drastically different than visiting after receiving acceptance. Each person has their own unique experience when visiting colleges, but merely choosing when is the hardest part.

Visiting ahead of acceptances, and even applications, can be valuable in saving money on applications, as well as avoiding spending extra time writing essays and filling out forms. If one decides then that they don’t like a campus, they don’t have to worry about applying. It also gives a person a general idea of what type of college they’re even looking for. Narrowing down a list of colleges to apply to is almost impossible if there are no guidelines to help eliminate choices.

“I visited college before applying and being accepted,” senior Isabella Anderson said. “It really helped me narrow down what I liked and disliked in a campus.”

That being said, it can be hard to picture oneself attending a particular college if they don’t have any idea of whether or not they’ll be accepted. This leads the case for visiting colleges after you’ve received an admissions decision.

“If it’s right before you find out about decisions, that can be really problematic,” senior Chandler Eldridge said.

With many people eager to attend big name schools, it isn’t uncommon for an individual to fall in love with a campus and then ultimately be rejected from it. This can be heartbreaking, when a college has seemed so perfect for you, but you could never actually attend it. If you wait until you actually know you’ve been accepted, allowing yourself to fall in love with a campus is alright, as you have the ability to attend in the future.

Regardless of your decision of when to visit colleges, the whole process is extremely fun. Tours give a preview of college living, and prompt people into excitement over furthering their education, a concept which (surface level) sounds quite boring. Eldridge visited NYC, Columbia, and Fordham, and loved all three for their locations, also taking into account their different sizes.

“I loved all three, although Fordham is a bit of a smaller campus than the other two,” Eldridge said.

Anderson visited nine colleges, among them being private schools, state schools, and UC’s.

“USD’s campus is gorgeous,” Anderson said. “I love that the size is only about 9,000 people.”

Visiting colleges is an essential part of the college search, so no matter what, it should be on your list. Consider both before and after admissions decisions, as you never know what will suit you best.

Good luck, Tritons!

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