"Ask about the things that are most important to you."
College visits are commonly a stressful and overwhelming event for high school students. There are many choices to make when it comes to choosing a college, from school size and distance from home to academic programs, athletic teams and cost. When it comes to visiting colleges, students work hard to prepare themselves for the event, including what to wear and bring, how early to arrive and especially which questions they need to ask.
Millikin University Director of Operations and Events for the Office of Admission, Shelby Baum, Class of 2011, has extensive experience in assisting visiting students and ensuring every student gets everything they can out of their visit. When asked what question was most important for a student to ask on a college visit, she mentioned that a former colleague always asked visiting students the same question: "What are the three things that are most important to you in a college search?" Then she would advise students to not leave their campus visit without asking about those three things.
Even at the same school on the same day, no two students will have the same college visit experience, because every student is different, and the college experience holds a different meaning to everyone.
"For some students, it's an academic program. For others, they want to make sure there is a vibrant social life on campus. For most, cost is a significant factor in making their college decision," Baum said.
Whether you are focusing on academics, athletics, campus life, cost or any other factor in your college search, Baum said that asking about the things that are most important to you during your college visit can shape your entire visit.
Here are a few things that Millikin University students said were important to them during their college search:
- Academic programs
- Athletic teams
- Campus life
- Class sizes
- Cost and/or financial aid package
- Location/distance from home
- Food and dining options
- Involvement opportunities
- Career and future success prospects
When asking about all the above and more during your next college visit, you can be certain that the college you ultimately choose will be the right fit. In a final piece of advice to students embarking on college visits, Baum said that the things that are important to you should also be important to the college you choose.