How Campus Visits Answered My Questions About College

Posted: Updated:

As a high schooler looking at colleges I remember one thing clearly: being overwhelmed by the number of choices. It seemed as if there were hundreds of colleges with good programs to pick from. Where do I go? What do I do? Which school is the best for me?

As I began the process of sifting through all of these schools, I quickly realized that I needed to find a criteria list. What was I looking for to create my ideal college experience? Did I have "do’s" and "dont’s?" Were there things that would make or break a school for me? So as a junior in high school, I sat down to make a list. At first, it was comprised mostly of questions, but it soon was shaped into categories that helped guide my college decision-making process.

I found that a lot of these questions were answered when I visited college campuses. There were a number of people -- parents, guidance counselors, admission counselors -- that advised me to visit campuses to get a true feel for what a particular college offers. I was able to visit several different schools prior to starting college, and the experiences were invaluable. I was able to make a number of observations just by walking around campuses. Soon, many of my questions were being answered on tours and interacting with the college in a more physical way rather than just informational on the website.

First on my criteria list was financial aid, as I knew my family contribution was only going to be so much. I needed to find a school that would help me financially, either through accepted state aid or other scholarships or work study money. I didn’t want money to stand in the way of my going to college, so I went through all the right steps. I filed the FAFSA, I applied for scholarships at different schools, I got online and found a huge number of essays I could write to earn scholarships. When I had the opportunity to be on campus, I was purposeful about asking questions. I was often able to meet with someone from the financial aid office; having the opportunity to sit and talk with someone who has literally all the answers is a tremendous assistance. A face to face conversation is extremely more helpful than waiting several days for an email reply.

Academics was also majorly important to me. I wanted an excellent program that would provide the highest caliber of education. I was looking to major in history, and the type of classes and concentrations offered within the department was very important. I wanted to be able to tailor my learning experience to my personal preferences and needs. At one college I visited, I sat down with the head of the department of history; hearing directly from a professor whose classes I would be taking was amazing. He was able to tell me exactly what I could expect classes at this college to look like. It gave me a much more real sense of what the academic experience looked like that I couldn’t get from just reading a course catalog online.

It was also important to me to know more about dorm life and the general campus atmosphere of the schools I was considering. How many roommates would I have? Would I have to suffer through the dreaded community bathroom experience? As a freshman, could I have my car on campus? Of what caliber was the dining hall? Was there work available on campus? What was the surrounding area like? Were there things to do on and off campus? Almost 100 percent of these questions were answered by college visits. I was able to see what dorm room accommodations were specifically. I ate in dining halls. I talked to possible employers on campus. I drove around the surrounding community.

The process of choosing a college can be overwhelming for many students. It takes time, and thoughtful consideration has to be put into every step. However, posing all of these questions to myself was helpful in narrowing down my list of schools from a dozen or so to just a few. And, fortunately, there were a great number of schools that had what I was looking for, both private and public. Having a goal in mind allowed me to fully explore exactly what my options were, and helped me realize the full range of choices out there. I ended up attending a private college that gave me all of what I was looking for and more.

Chloe Alexander is a strategic communications intern at Independent Colleges of Indiana.

  • Perspectives

    • Truck Driver Supply Impacting Cargo Hauling Demand

      The U.S. unemployment rate has moved down to 3.9 percent, which is its lowest level since December 2000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Great news! Maybe not. There are business sectors that need employees due to constraints in the labor market - namely truck drivers. The level of employment in the truck transportation industry is essentially unchanged since mid-2015, according to the bureau. And the impact is being felt.

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Triple XXX Root Beer Appears in Prime Time

      A soft drink that carries the name of an iconic West Lafayette restaurant has been featured on a national television series. In a message on the Triple XXX Family Restaurant's Instagram page, co-owner Carrie Ehresman said the recent appearance of Triple XXX Root Beer on NBC's "Chicago Fire" was not product placement. She said the show's producers reached out through the restaurant's website and "we weren't sure we'd make the final cut until it aired!"

    • Mark Sandy became Ball State's director of intercollegiate athletics in 2015.

      Ball State to Introduce Next AD

      Ball State University Monday will name a new director of intercollegiate athletics. Mark Sandy, who has served in the position for more than three years, announced his retirement in January. During Sandy's tenure, eight teams won Mid-American Conference league championships or division titles. Three new facilities projects have been completed during his time in Muncie...

    • IU Nominated for Tech Transfer Award

      Indiana University is among five nominees for Tech Transfer Unit of the Year. Global University Venturing has nominated the IU Research and Technology Corp., one of three nominees in North America. 

    • The facility also features a computer training lab, a bistro and Bosma's retail store.

      Bosma Launches Salesforce Training Program

      Indianapolis-based Bosma Enterprises has launched a program to train people who are blind or visually impaired to be Salesforce administrators. The organization says BosmaForce involves an 18-week online course available throughout the United States. Bosma Enterprises Chief Executive Officer Lou Moneymaker says people who are blind of visually impaired face a 70 percent national unemployment rate, and the BosmaForce program aims to create pathways to high-paying, in-demand careers.

    • On-Air

      Find out when and where you can watch and listen to our reports.