There are many things that are important during the admission process for a transfer student—meeting application deadlines, submitting strong letters of recommendation, carefully reviewing your financial aid, among others. While there is no doubt that these pieces of the admission process are vital, an often overlooked part of the puzzle is the campus visit.
Campus visits are crucial in helping students determine if a college is a good fit for them. When the selected college is a great fit, students will find that they are more academically successful, participate in co-curricular activities and be on a track to graduate from that college. Sometimes students know right away upon arriving at a college campus if that is a place they can see themselves, and other times the deciding factor might lie in a class visit or meeting with a professor.
Even though you’ve been to college before, you haven’t been to (insert name of college here) before, so it’s worth it to visit and make sure it’s a place you can see yourself for the remainder of your college career. The following are a few compelling reasons to make campus visits a priority.
Meet with your Admission Counselor
At Hamline University, every campus visit includes a one-on-one meeting with an admission counselor as a staple of the campus visit experience. Meeting with your admission counselor is a great way to know who your advocate will be in the admission process and get your burning questions (and curiosities) about the college and the programs answered in short order. You can also use this time to share your accomplishments and goals as well as discuss any possible concerns you may have about the transfer process.
Did you have a semester that produced grades that you are less than proud of? Are you concerned that the application process will poorly define your potential? A campus visit is the perfect opportunity to ensure that any blemishes or misunderstandings receive necessary clarification and proper consideration in the admission review process. Similarly, if you are president of your Phi Theta Kappa chapter, organized a campus-wide food drive, and sing in three different choirs, your admission counselor wants to know about these things as well! Don’t be afraid to brag a little—we want to know all of the amazing things you’ve done at your previous institution, and all of the ways in which you will help contribute to our campus.
Visiting with an admission counselor also helps to highlight your interest in that college. Admission counselors read hundreds, if not thousands of admission files every year. Visiting campus is one way in which you can make yourself and your application stand out. It lets us know that you are truly interested in attending our institution, and is a great way for you to learn about important information regarding required application materials, financial aid, credit transfer, and transfer student support services.
Taking a campus tour is one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with that particular college campus. You can see a residence hall room, check out the science labs, view the athletic facilities, and discover where to get the best coffee on campus. At many colleges, campus tours are led by current students, so you also have the added benefit of picking their brain to learn about the ins and outs of the student experience at that school, and find out what their take is on student life, the food, and professors!
Class Visits/Professor Meetings
Do you want to find out what it’s like to be a student for a day? Sit in on a class or two and sit down with a professor to learn more about the majors you have particular interest in. Class visits can help students determine if you enjoy the teaching style of the particular professor’s class you are visiting, but also gives you an idea if classes at that university are more lecture or discussion based. Additionally, sitting down with professors gives students a chance to learn the details of the major you are interested in, including specific courses that are required, internships and research that students have done within that field, and examples of capstone projects that students have completed.
Don’t Forget to Gather Contact Information!
After a campus visit, you will undoubtedly think of questions you forgot to ask, so make sure to gather the contact information of the people you meet with! This way you can ask your admission counselor about who to send your letter of recommendation to, or follow up with the theater professor about the upcoming productions on campus that year. Admissions staff, faculty, and current students are always willing to answer your questions and help you make a good decision regarding your college choice, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Don’t underestimate the importance of a campus visit and the impact it can have on your college search. Do yourself a favor and visit at least your top three college choices—connect with faculty, take a campus tour, ask current students questions about their campus experience, and have a meaningful conversation with your admission counselor regarding your interest in the university. Then, arm yourself with all of the information you gather at each college and use it, along with other factors, to make an informed decision and find the college that is the best fit for you.