How To: Prepping for College Visits

Hayley Johnson, Staff Writer

College season is upon us, and as seniors scramble to keep up with extracurriculars, get work turned in, and finish applications, it is easy to forget to take a moment to figure out which college is actually the best fit. Many seniors have been taking college visits since their junior year — and some well before — but for those who haven’t, their experiences have been used to create this step-by-step how-to on preparing for college visits.

Step 1: Study up on the colleges you will be visiting.

It is so important to know what you’re looking at when visiting a college. What are the college’s requirements, when are the deadlines, and what are your questions? Writing down questions for each college you plan to visit is the best way to ensure you have the most valuable experience possible. Before her visits to Loyola Chicago and DePaul University, Hailey Fejeran ’20 had never been on a college visit. “I was really nervous about basically everything,” she shared, “but before each college visit I looked at the colleges’ majors and decided on my top two so I could ask questions to my tour guide. I’m so happy I did that and would recommend that everyone do that beforehand so you feel more prepared.” 

Hailey Fejeran ’20 visiting the University of San Francisco. Photo Sophie Huarte ’20.

Step 2: Communicate with your teachers about your absence (if you will be missing school).

It is so easy to get behind on work when you miss a few days of school, so it is important to let your teachers know well in advance when and why you will be missing school. They will probably be very excited for you and more than happy to help you catch up. Another important thing to remember, though, is that college trips are often hectic and busy, especially if they are not particularly close to home, so it is a good idea to get started on any make-up work before you leave for your visit.

Step 3: Decide what you will need for your visit. 

This step can mean a lot of different things for different people. You’ll probably want to bring your phone along, of course, and it is a smart idea to have a few copies of your academic or artistic resume handy just in case, but this isn’t just about essentials. A fun pair of shoes or supplies for a signature hairstyle are just as important as anything that’s completely necessary for your trip. Whatever is going to make you feel the most comfortable and completely yourself on campus is what you should bring along with you. 

Step 4: Open yourself up to new experiences.

You never know what you might find on a college campus and, whether it be a new interest or an unlikely friend, you might not notice it if you aren’t open to noticing it. It is essential to keep an open mind on these trips and enjoy what comes at you. “My favorite part [of my summer visit to Georgetown] was definitely all the lectures I got to hear,” Vanesa Farooq ‘20 shared, “My first lecture was on Foreign Policy, and it made me realize how much I enjoy the field of international relations.” While not every senior looks to study Foreign Policy like Vanesa, her experience says a lot about what being open to new experiences on a college visit can do for you.

Vanesa Farooq on her visit to Georgetown University. Photo by

Step 5: Breathe.

You’ve got this. It may seem impossible, but this college season will be over as quickly as it came, so the most important thing to remember is to take a few deep breaths now and then, take a look around you, and remind yourself that everything will work out in the end.