Upcoming College Visits
Each Spring and Fall, numerous colleges and universities will visit the Twin Cities and Chicago. These information sessions are a fantastic place to make connections with Admission Representatives and ask specific questions. These are strongly recommended for Seniors. Juniors and Sophomores are welcome to attend as well. I will update this list frequently as schools announce their visits.
As you start to explore your college options, touring campuses can be both fun and informative. It will help you decide if you want an urban or rural campus, big or small, commuter or residential. This said, there is no reason to plan numerous special trips to various cities and schools. The cost is often prohibitive and many questions and visuals are available on websites.
I do, however, encourage you to stop by local campuses when you are traveling for fun, at a wedding or family celebration, or when opportunities present themselves. For example, you may not want to attend the University of Minnesota or DePaul University, but have you really considered what a more urban campus feels like? Likewise, nearby Grinnell, Lake Forest and Carleton Colleges will introduce you to smaller, liberal arts schools that do not have graduate programs and are under 4,000 students. These nearby opportunities will then make it easier to pin point, for example, if you would be happier at a school in the heart of Boston, or one tucked away a few hours from a city.
So, what should you do once you get to a campus? If you are Senior, the first thing to establish is if you need an interview. If so, take the opportunity to schedule one in advance. These are only offered to Seniors starting in June or so of each year. Schools have different times and days that these are conducted and, particularly in the summer, can limit hours, so plan ahead. In addition, take a tour, ideally, before, attend a class of interest, view or eat in a dining room, ask to visit a first year and upper-class dorm, and simply wander. What does it feel like to you? Where are the common gathering areas? Where do the kids get mail? Where is the bookstore? Pick up a map and, beyond the tour, just take in as much as you can.
Here are some things to keep in mind, ask, and consider:
Are First Year students required to take a First Year Seminar? If so, how many are offered, what is the average size and how do I decide?
When must I declare a major? What about a minor? Can I double major and/or double minor?
What is the average class size?
Do professors or graduate students teach courses? (This is obviously in university settings.)
How many classes do professors teach and how many hours of office time are set aside for students?
Is the college on semesters or quarters?
Does the college sponsor their own study abroad program? If not, how can I find one that this school endorses?
What is the percentage of freshmen returning for sophomore year?
How many papers versus tests can I expect as a Biology major? An English major? A Music major?
Are there Saturday classes?
How am I assigned a Faculty Mentor? Does this change once I select a major?
What are the most popular majors? The most difficult?
What meal plans are available? Are they flexible for snacks? Are they bound to a particular dining hall?
Are dorms co-ed or single sex? Beyond Freshmen year, how is housing done? Is there a lottery and, if so, do upper classmen get priority?
How expensive are the various housing options? Do any have kitchens or eating areas within?
Where do most students eat?
Are First Year students housed along side upper classmen or kept separate?
Are all dorm rooms WIFI? What about the campus as a whole?
How many students have cars? Can First Years have a car? Is it needed?
Are there dorm proctors? Are there special housing options, ie quiet dorms, multi-national dorms, major-specific dorms, “dry” dorms?
How many students live off campus?
How do students spend their weekends?
Do students stay on campus or leave? If they do leave, where do they go?
If there is a House system, how does that affect the social atmosphere?
What is the policy on alcohol and how prevalent is it on campus?
What type of performers, artists, intellectuals visit campus and where are such events held?
How many students participate in club sports? How do I get involved?
Do I need to buy tickets to sporting events? If so, when?
How many plays and music performances are offered? How much are tickets to such events?
Are there opportunities for prayer or religious gathering?
Can I start my own club? How?
Do Faculty ever spend time on the weekends on campus?
Is there a student union that functions as a center of campus and/or of social life?
How prevalent is the Greek system? How many students belong? How is the interaction between affiliated and non-affiliated students? When is rush held and can I join at any point, if I desire, or only as a Freshman?
Is there an athletic facility on campus and can I work out at no additional cost? What are the hours? Is there a swimming pool for student use?
How may students work on campus?
What types of jobs are available and are they hard to find?
Is there a credit union for the university where a student can open a checking account?
How many students are on financial aid?
What is the average amount spent on books and other materials?
Does the school provide computers or do I need to buy my own?
How expensive is it to get around the town, the city, to nearby areas? How expensive are nearby restaurants and/or amenities?
Can classes be audited at no cost?