It is extremely important that you visit the colleges in which you are interested. While some schools may look great on paper, it may not meet your expectations or simply “not feel right.” I have seen too many students who accept a spot, only to transfer after the first semester because it was not what they expected. When I ask, “Did you visit?”, most readily admit they did not.
There are two types of college visits:
With a formal visit, you contact the school, take the tour and are told about their programs. This may include a lunch in the cafeteria, a look into dorm life, and maybe even sitting in on a class. These tours are important and should be done. Ask a lot of questions to really learn about their school and if it is the right fit for you. (See below for what to ask!)
Informal tours are just as important. This is when you get off the beaten path and go around yourself. At this time you should check out what surrounds the campus (do you feel safe, where is the local bank/ grocery store, do you need a car, etc.). They can also provide an opportunity to talk to different people than you’d encounter on a formal visit. Remember your questions then as well!