Making the Most of Your College Visits

Join for a webinar on “Making the Most of Your College Visits.” This session is designed to help you maximize your college visits and make informed decisions about the schools that interest you.

During this webinar, you will learn:

  • How to prepare for your college visits
  • What to look for during your campus tour
  • Strategies for engaging with current students and faculty
  • How to gain a better understanding of campus life and academic programs

CollegeAdvisor Admissions Expert and Harvard alum Maria will provide valuable insights and tips to help you make informed decisions about the schools that interest you.
Whether you are just starting your college search or narrowing down your list of potential schools, this webinar is perfect for you.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to gain valuable insights and make the most of your college visits. Register now to reserve your spot!

Date 05/11/2023
Duration 52:49

Webinar Transcription

2023-05-11 – Making the Most of Your College Visits

Hello everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisors Webinar, “Making the Most of Your College Visits. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’re gonna first begin with a presentation, and then we’ll have the opportunity to answer your questions in a live Q&A. But first, let’s meet our panelists. Hi everyone.

My name is Maria Acosta Robayo and I graduated from the class of 2020 from Harvard where I studied sociology and global health policy and where I was on the pre-med track. I’m excited to to chat with y’all today. Great. So before we get into our presentation, We would like to know, actually the poll question is there, but we wanna know what grade are you in?

So let us know. We wanna know what grade you are in. The poll question should have popped up on your screen. And let’s see, I’m gonna give it a second for the grades to start rolling in. Here they go. Okay, so Maria, you have 75% of your audience is in the 11th grade, and then followed by that we have 20% 10th grade, and then we have 10% ninth grade and a few other.

So I will turn it over to you to kick us off on our presentation. Great. That’s really helpful. I think especially for thinking about college visits, usually junior year is when you’re thinking about like your college trips, maybe during the summer and where you think you might be going in the next year.

And so or were you think you might be applying next year. So that makes sense and I’m glad for all those folks who are coming in also early. I hope that you’re able to get a little bit more on things to look forward to in the coming years with college visits. So I’ll kick us off with our first question.

So, Students often wonder like, okay, when’s a good time for students to, to begin researching schools. And so I think this comes as a precursor to actually going on your college visits, so you can start as early as middle school. I know that there was like schools that I had just heard like my friend’s siblings were going to and just was something that was exciting and I was like, oh, I’ll, it’s interesting to start getting like a sense, but you don’t really have to ru ramp up with that until high school.

So that’s when you’re starting to think more about like, okay, like what classes should I be taking? How can I join different extracurriculars? Like that’s when you start thinking a little bit more about the step after high school. And so if you’re able to start early ninth grade, 10th grade It really allows you to apply to more summer and winter break programs that colleges may be hosting.

So this is something that maybe you’ve heard of before, maybe not, but sometimes schools will offer like high school programs during the summer or during winter break. And it’s really a really fun opportunity to one just be able to go on campus and get a sense for what it might be like to be there for four years as a college student.

It’s also a really great opportunity to meet professors to also just get more acquainted with like college type classes. Depending on the program, it obviously you won’t be taking like a. College level math class your freshman year of high school in like a summer program like that. But you will be able to probably get a sense of like, maybe what’s the style of the classes like, is it more like a seminar where you’re able to learn something and then you break out into small groups, which might be different from, you know, your more like textbook based curriculum in high school.

So it’s a really cool opportunity to do that and to also just meet other, other students from all over. Sometimes all over the world. And all of these things give you a better understanding for what college is like. Also give you a better understanding of what you might be thinking about for which school to go to.

And then also potentially could be a part of your future essay when you start the college application process. So overall really cool programs. If you’re interested in those, I would actually look up like just High school like colleges that offer high school programs during the summer. And think about maybe a couple that you could apply to starting early.

Also it just offers you the opportunity to like informally tour colleges through trips with family and friends. So, for example In your junior year, it might be really hard to just travel a lot to go see colleges maybe across the country. And so if you start early as a freshman, then maybe you can think about like, okay, maybe this year I really wanna go with some friends or with my family to visit Boston.

And in Boston there’s like a lot of schools within the city. There’s also Cambridge nearby that has m i T in Harvard. And so it just offers really interesting opportunities to double dip into what could maybe just be like a, a, a friend or family trip and take the opportunity to, to actually go and visit schools during that time as well.

So to think about it a little bit more concretely for folks on the line, I think most were 11th graders and there’s also ninth and 10th graders. If you’re in ninth and 10th grade, I would say you should start thinking about what type of school you’d want to attend. So, for example, you might be thinking about like, okay, do I wanna attend a liberal arts school?

Do I want to attend? Like a technical school that offers like these specific, like, I don’t know, like art based programs or maybe like technical, like tech based programs or engineering based programs. And so I would think a little bit more about, you know, maybe what genre of school do I wanna go to?

And then think about potentially, and again, you don’t have to, even when you’re applying, you could technically apply undecided. And so this doesn’t have to be like, you need to know you’re in ninth or 10th grade where you’re like, what major you wanna do? But it is a really good opportunity to just start thinking more about, okay, in high school, like what are the, the classes that most excite me?

What are the things that I’m really excited about doing in my downtime? Like, what are the extracurriculars that I’m interested in? And those things would, will, one, will help you just have a better sense of how you wanna use your time during high school, what classes you wanna take, and what clubs you might wanna join, but also gives you a better understanding of.

Maybe what career is some I would, I like to do like what major in like not just what career, but like what areas of study do I wanna focus in in college? So that also gives you one, just more clarity for potential essays that you’re gonna write. And two, just helps you to prepare and maybe narrow down on what schools you might wanna apply to in the future.

Then when you’re in 11th grade, that’s really when you have to ramp things up a little bit cuz you’re preparing to apply your senior year. And so I would say that by that time you should try I think anytime the earlier the better. But I think anytime within your junior year or during the summer between your junior and senior year, you should probably make a spreadsheet with your advisor or whether that’s with CollegeAdvisor or with your college counselor, or with your high school college counselor.

And start doing more in depth research so that you can figure out like, okay, what are my top schools? Especially if you’re working with like an advisor, CollegeAdvisor. Start thinking about like what strategy you might wanna use. And what I mean by that is like once you make your list of schools that you’re interested in thinking pretty critically about, Okay, which are gonna be my reach schools, which are gonna be like my target schools and which are gonna be my safety schools.

And making sure that you have a good mix. And the earlier you do this, the more it gives you an opportunity to just use or to choose the top schools in each of those categories. And by top schools. I’m not talking about like ranking, I’m thinking about like more specifically for you. Of the, all the safety schools you could go to, which do you think are make more sense for you of the target schools?

Right. There’s a lot of those schools that are in like the fifties, sixties, seventies of admissions rates. And maybe, you know, there’s some that you’ve always thought were gonna be your target schools, but once you do research you’ll figure out like, oh, maybe there’s some that offer really great financial aid in another state.

And that’s something that I really wanna do. Also like if you do more in-depth research with those like reach schools, then you’re able to narrow down, okay, do I really wanna spend, so like, such a long time applying to maybe Stanford that has so many essays and like, that’s great if you really wanna go there.

But maybe after doing some in-depth research, you’re like, Actually, there’s two schools I would rather apply to that take less time and that I’m more interested in that are reach schools and that helps you to again, narrow down Okay. In each of those categories, which makes more sense for you.

Okay, so now that we’ve talked about like. When should you start? Maybe an another follow up to that is like, where should you start your your college search process? And what I would say to that is, I kind of a segue from the previous slide, is I usually just start all research with, well, one day I’ve just like sitting down having a spreadsheet and just like, Listening to good music and going through the internet and trying to figure out like, okay, I need to, to ha start somewhere and I wanna start making a list of the things I do know.

So what are the schools that already come to your mind that you’re interested in? And start thinking, start doing some research on them where they are kind of giving a little bit more evidence apart from just like, oh, you know, that’s like, sounds like a good school. I’ve heard good things. You wanna be able to back that up more with data for yourself.

And so, If you start by making that spreadsheet and logging in all your research, usually what ends up happening is that you that you are able to like find some similar schools that maybe you had not thought about. So schools that maybe are in the same range of like liberal arts schools that you were interested in, or maybe among the like Ivy Leagues, like if you’re looking for Ivy Leagues.

It’s actually like a perfect example is that you will only find like schools within the Ivy League, but there’s still schools that are more highly ranked than some of the Ivy Leagues, for example, like Stanford is more highly ranked at Cornell, and so like if you’re looking at like really prestigious schools, but only searching up Ivy Leagues, then you’re gonna miss out.

But as you’re doing that and as you’re doing your research, you’ll probably find some links to other top schools that maybe weren’t in your initial search. So starting off with some schools often leads you to finding similar schools, either in ranking or in programs. When it comes to programs, again, if you find a really cool program in a school that you already knew about, there is a potential that they might partner with the different school that you hadn’t heard about that you could also apply to.

And so I would just think about those and I think these are a little bit outta order, but in a, in a slide that’s coming up, I’ll talk about a couple categories that you could use as starting points. But I would, I would always have like some type of spreadsheet on hand as you’re doing your research.

And then again, I already talked about like one strategy of doing it, but I, you could also just start with your favorite school and then just use a search engine like Google and go through like the, the school’s website and fill out those categories. And then as you’re, as you’re going like a, on a deep dive in each specific school, maybe there’s categories you didn’t even like know about.

Maybe you really liked a school because of just the ranking that it had and some of the majors. But you hadn’t really thought about like, study abroad and you found these really cool study study abroad programs that you could use in like a why like why Harvard essay or like why like, you know, X school essay.

So this, this research was also allowing you to do some overhead time on things that you might put in one of those essays so that you’re not starting from scratch. And then I kind of alluded to this already, but you could find additional schools by looking at rankings for schools with your intended major.

So for example, if you already know, like, I really wanna do like neurobiology, this is like, I love it. This is what I wanna apply for, this is the major I wanna do in college. And like, that might be true like at the moment and like you might change in the future, but in your, in your application season, like this is where you’re really feeling that you wanna be.

And so, You could just like look up best ranked schools for neurobiology students. And again, I would be a little bit careful with like, especially some of these like medical sounding majors because sometimes they’ll push you through like to like medical school residency or something like that.

And so I would just be careful you’re looking at the right pages. But if you’re looking at undergrad colleges, that should be that, that’s like the marker. And then you could also look at schools by area. So for example, maybe, you know, like I. Like, for example, I’m from Miami and I, it was a stretch for me to go to to, to Massachusetts because it was very cold.

I had never even seen snow before going to college. And maybe you’re somebody that’s like, you know what? I am okay with that. I never wanna be in the cold. I’m only gonna apply to warm states. Maybe like that’s something that could help you narrow down your list. Again, for me, I was mostly looking at warm states, but I was open to other schools.

And so that’s just an example of like how you could further narrow down is if you’re thinking about where you wanna live. Another way to narrow down in, in terms of location is thinking about maybe you wanna be near a big city. Maybe you’re someone who grew up in a big city or you, you are in a rural place and really wants to live in a big city for a period of time.

That also helps you to narrow down your school list because you’d be thinking about, okay, maybe like even with highly ranked schools, like Xavier, you’re comparing Columbia and Princeton. Princeton is a a lot more in like the middle of nowhere. It’s really the city is, or the school is there, and the surrounding areas are for like students to like, To have like a small campus, but it’s not really located near like a big city where you can just easily walk to.

Whereas the opposite of that is Columbia, which like the buildings are truly embedded in New York City. And so that’s just another way to narrow things in. And lastly, again, as you’re doing your search, maybe you’ll find something that you’re like, I’m not applying here unless you have a study abroad program, and that’s like something you wanna filter by.

So start out with like what, you know, doing deep research on what you know and allow yourself to be open-minded about, okay, where, what are the rabbit holes of other schools and other programs that this is leading me to. And lastly, I would fill in any gaps that you have by reaching out to admission to the admissions office at schools that you’re interested in.

So, for example, like maybe you don’t know what the financial aid is for one school. So you call and you figure out like, okay, what, maybe you don’t wanna call all the time ev to every school, but you would fill in those gaps where you couldn’t find it online by calling the admissions office. Or by just talking to students who were students who were either at the school or who were recent alumni.

So this is when you’re filling out your spreadsheet, these, these are examples of categories that you could do research or like research for each school. So some of the, the factors that I would, that I personally consider and that I would encourage you to consider when crafting a school list is the location.

So both, like I said, in terms of like where in the United States or where in the world do you wanna be? And also like in relation to other facilities or opportunities. So again, I already mentioned the geographic part of like rural versus urban and like the weather. But another consideration for location is is it next to like facilities that you might need for your undergraduate career?

So, for example, I was a, a pre-med student and I knew. For med school applications, like I really wanted to shadow or I needed to shadow doctors. I wanted to do research and so Boston made a lot, or Harvard, which is in, in Cambridge and very close to Boston, made a lot of sense to me because one, it was just very close to like a big network of medical, of medical schools, of hospitals.

There was. An entire area of just a ton of hospitals all together. There was Dana Farber, Brigham women, like just a lot of really interesting like subspecialties that I could even do research in or I can shadow in. And so that was really big for me. I know that one of my friends really was interested in marine, in marine biology.

She was not gonna be in a school that was in a landlocked state. She was definitely gonna be only applying to ones near the coast where she could actually do field research in the ocean. And so those are just things again to consider as you’re thinking about crafting your list. The second one I, I mentioned before is like the type of college, do you wanna go to a liberal arts school?

Do you wanna go to one that has a more like technical, like school? Like I know that at one point I thought about maybe wanting to do like animation for Pixar, Disney, and for that I needed to actually like, get more technical skills. And that was something that if I wanted to pursue that I would’ve probably found like a more technical based school where I would learn those specific skills.

Then the other ones that you should consider are majors and programs of study offered. And I separate those because even though you’re in a specific major, there might be a broader like study program that that’s under. So for example, like when I studied sociology, like something that was really cool is that it sat in like this, like building where they had like anthropology and social studies and there was a lot of different like.

Opportunities to like take classes from different majors. And I wanted to make sure that the program of study that I followed was one where I could take classes from multiple majors, even if the majority was from my major. And so that is true of most schools. But it’s just something that I would like look into and see how many like requirements or electives you have.

The, the next one is admissions free. And so this is really important when you’re thinking about. Like making a strategy for for what schools to apply to. Because even though as you’re doing this list, like you might get really excited about lots of schools, like ultimately you have limited amount of time and like, potentially also like just a financial considerations about how many schools you can actually apply to considering a lot of the fees are between like 80 to a hundred dollars.

And so I would think about what schools do you wanna narrow into? A part of that is figuring out how many safety schools, how many target schools, and how many reach schools. And really the biggest indicator of which are safety schools, which are Target and which are reach is the admissions rate. All those that are like within like one to 20, I would say even 25% are usually considered reach schools where you can be an amazing student.

And just because there is very low admissions rates, especially like. If you look at the IVs, like some have like 2% admissions rates. And so I would say like, think about, think about that as you’re crafting your list and make sure that you have enough target schools. Because like I said, if you can be an extremely gifted student and just because of the numbers you might not get in that year.

And then lastly, or not lastly, but next I would say financial aid is another aspect that’s really important, especially if you’re thinking about. Like financial considerations about whether you need to take out a loan I would make sure that through the school you’re able to apply. Like I would think about what type of financial aid they offer.

So do they offer merit-based, which means that like they’re looking, they’re giving you financial aid as a result of like your academic results or your extracurricular results, or? Something very specific, like potentially like high standardized test score or high GPA or like community service.

Those are all based on merit. And then a lot of schools, especially the IVs are need-based financial aid. So that means that they won’t look at your merit. They’ll really just assume if you got in it, it was based on merit. And then out of everybody who got in, they will look at, okay, who would need the help?

In order to, to like attend our school, and they will just look at your parents’ tax. So like the, the tax-based documentation that they fill out when they do the FAFSA or the CSS profile is what they would look at to give need-based financial aid. And so that, that affects when you’re crafting your list because maybe like if you don’t have schools at all that are offering like.

Need based financial aid, and maybe you’re a low income student like I was, like, that’s gonna be a, a real consideration of like, will you, even if you get in, will you be able to attend the school? Like, are you able to take out loans? Do you want to take out loans? And so that’s, that’s a consideration as you’re making your list.

Again, some students really care about study abroad opportunities and so I would make sure that you’re thinking about whether that’s something that’s offered. Professors, so a lot of people don’t think about this, but. I think one of the most important like factors in like whether you enjoy your, your education at a college is the professors that you have.

And so I would think about if there’s maybe like, maybe you’re really into like medical anthropology, so that maybe totally new to you, but like for me, I like really cared about. Like doctors that were going and doing like service trips all over the world and like helping folks and like writing stories about it.

And like the father of medical anthropology was a professor at Harvard when I was applying, so I was really excited to do that. The late Paul Farmer was also like at Harvard and was teaching classes and so that was another really exciting thing for me specifically. So I would think about who are the people that like, Either you’ve read about or you think are really interesting or like experts in the field, then like if they’re professors, where are they teaching?

And so that’s another thing that you can use to, to build your list. And lastly, but also really important is the social and Greek life. And so a lot of college is meeting new people and like making friends and developing a really like a new network of folks that maybe you didn’t know or thought you’d be friends with.

And so, Thinking about, okay, what, what parts of like college, based on your personalities, like something that would really help you to, to make new friends and to be able to think about college. And not just like what I learn in the classroom, but also what you learn from your peers and who you can share what you’re learning with and, and just like do some of the really cool, like college like late night chatting about like these random topics or like pushing forward like ideas and like expanding your.

Your understanding of the world, like what, what type of circumstances do you do that well in? Is it, maybe it’s like in groups that are like part of a fraternity or a sorority where you have a tight-knit group of people that all live together or that are part of events that, or chapters that span all over the country.

Maybe that was really big in your family and something that you’re looking forward to make sure that that’s like included in the schools that you’re interested in. Maybe that’s like not at all you, and you’re like, no, I actually like really care about a really, like, well developed like climbing, climbing club or like outdoors club and like, this is how I make friends and this is how I let off steam.

And like maybe that’s something you were really interested in. For me, like I was more in that, in that second like area of interest where I really love doing outdoor stuff. And so I was really excited that Harvard had an outdoors club where like, Almost every weekend folks were getting together and like going on hikes or doing like white water rafting or there was even like ice climbing.

So things that I thought were super interesting, it would help me make friends. And so I would just keep that as a consideration.

And so something that students still ask themselves is like, has Covid 19 affected school visits? And researching colleges. So I would say that in 2020 and 2021, there was a lot of schools that limited those school visits just because of health concerns. And so they, what they did to replace that is they did virtual tours which I think was like a lot of things that came out of Covid were just things that we hadn’t really thought about a lot.

And now what they do is they offer the convenience of being able to visit a lot of schools in a short period of time. Obviously it’s not the same and there are things that you do miss out on by not being there personally on campus. But I think that. It just offers the opportunity to at least get a glimpse into the school more so than just the webpage.

And so I think that’s an, an interesting thing that came out of covid. But because in 2020, a lot of those mandates were either retired or lessened. A lot more more campuses are offering like in-person tours again. But again, this, I, I think. Well, it does vary from school to school. I would say the majority, if not all schools have returned to doing their in-person tours.

And so I’m definitely taking advantage of that. But I think that what is really cool is that because now we have like all of these virtual tours and we have physical tours available, it just gives you more. A selection and more choices of what type of experience you wanna have visiting schools, maybe like your top schools.

You are definitely wanting to go and visit in person and that’s awesome cuz you have that choice. But maybe there’s other schools that you’re like, oh, like I really wanted to visit but I just don’t have the financial or the time. Capacity right now. Like you’re also able to visit those virtually.

So it gives you more, more flexibility for the experiences that you can have while visiting. And it also, I would say something that I would say in order to make the most out of your in-person trips is to make sure that you do a little bit of research before so that you know which ones you actually wanna go to and what questions you might wanna ask while you’re there.

So should you visit schools before or after you grad? You get into into the school. And how important is the college visit? So I would say, I think you, it depends on like the, the person, but ideally you should visit schools before applying because I think it’s I’ve personally had like a lot of advisees that I.

Just they weren’t able to go for whatever reasons before they applied to the school to, to go visit it. And so they just applied and like took a lot of time applying to a school that later they figure out like, you know, this is cool, but like I am a city person. And I applied to like Cornell and Ithaca and like Princeton in Princeton, where it’s like, again, not very close to a city.

And so small things like that where they thought it wouldn’t be a big deal. But then when they went to go visit, they were like, wow, like this is gonna take some adjustment. And maybe they would’ve prioritized other schools that were similar in ranking. And just if they would’ve realized how, how much they were affected by the lack of proximity to a big city.

And so ideally you would go before. Again, it helps you to figure out if you really wanna apply to the school. And then even if you do, and it’s a confirmation and that’s great, it gives you the excitement to be like, okay, like I really wanna go here. I’m gonna put my best foot forward. It gives you like that extra.

Initiative or incentive to apply. And it also gives you like a little bit more of details and information that students can use in your, in their, in their essays. And so again, all pros on that, on that end. And then it’s also nice to visit, and again, this is all with considerations about your financial constraints, time constraints.

And so if you’re, if you’re able also, like trying to visit when you’re deciding between schools, because then you have more of like a laser focus of like, Okay. I know it’s between school A and school B. These are the things that set them apart and I really wanna know more about this. And so it, it gives you a more narrowed and focused view on like what you wanna do during your visit and what you wanna find out.

And ultimately like I said, it’s not a requirement and it can often be financially difficult to visit schools. I’ll say for myself, I didn’t visit any schools before going to Harvard or before accepting Harvard. I just. I didn’t have the finance, the financial means to travel, to go see all of them.

And also I was just, even if I did, my mind was just like, I wanna be more focused on my schoolwork and I don’t wanna be especially like when the college trips were happening in my year, like it was just really important, like unit exams that, you know, maybe in hindsight I would’ve loved to have gone, but it was a combination of like, it was really costly and I was gonna be away from a lot of class and just thinking about how much work I had to like to do after the college visit was just giving me stress.

So I was like, I’m just going to do my work. I’m gonna talk to a lot of students. So I did talk to a lot of students who went to the schools that I applied to, did a lot of research and ultimately I knew that as long as it was a school that was like near hospitals near city that I really liked based on like their website, I was pretty particular about what schools I wanted to apply to.

I just felt like for me personally, I didn’t I didn’t wanna go. And so again, this is an example. I’m not saying it’s ideal. I think ideally if you have the money, if you have the time, you should go. But for me, because of all the constraints, I decided not to go and it still ended up being okay. And so for the, I just want, I’m just saying that not as the ideal or the thing to shoot for, but for those who may be.

Are feeling a little bit nervous because they can’t go or haven’t been able to. I just wanna let you know, like I’m, I’m an example of someone who didn’t do that and still got into Harvard. And so it really depends. It’s not a, a one size fits all. So what do you usually learn during a school visit?

So I, from, again, from the research that I’ve done, and then I did go to a, a pre frost weekend, which was like once you got admitted, You were invited to this weekend at Harvard, and so I’ll, I also speak from some experience of what I learned there. So I learned some of like the basics. And this is often also what’s given at the tours, which is like you get to hear about the, the school history, you get to hear more about the mission and how the school got started about the alumni achievement.

And so that’s just some like background knowledge to know. And then what I think is the most helpful during tours or during like an admitted students weekend is getting a better idea of campus life. Usually when you go, you go during the semester if you’re going during the summer, there’s often even like, folks there taking classes or doing research.

And so it’s a, it’s a good idea of like, oh, you know, what are people doing when they go here? It’s also really helpful to answer more specific academic and extracurricular questions. So there’s things that may be from the websites you still have questions about or didn’t make sense, or maybe you have a very specific question that like, it’s not gonna be answered in the FAQs.

Then it’s a really cool opportunity to talk to an admissions officer and to meet people at the office and just get one-on-one support on the questions that you have. And then lastly, I think something that was really important for me was just getting a, a sense for the ca the campus layout and the proximity of different buildings.

So, For example, like I I was really lucky that my freshman dorm was right across from the big science center where I took a lot of my classes. I know since graduating Harvard, like opened up their school of engineering and sciences, which has a lot of the, like, engineering classes and that’s across the river and further away from the residences.

And so just getting a chance to see like, okay, if I’m gonna come here, I need to build in like 15 minutes, 20 minutes potentially to like get to my class between when I leave my, my dorm. I think when it comes to like some of the bigger and that’s because Harvard is more nuclear and I would say like it was a big exception to have to go 15 minutes or 20 minutes to get to your class.

But I would say like if you’re, again, potentially like at Cornell or other schools where maybe it’s a bigger campus, there’s more green and like. It’s just not constrained by like the, an expanding city. It might mean that you might have to get a car or you might have to just be very thoughtful about like where you wanna live within the campus limits or within, like where, where students do their housing.

And lastly, I just think it was a really like really cool opportunity to meet professors, coaches and other personnel that you might be interested in, in working with or being part of their team.

So how can you find out if a school offers virtual visits? So I think this is where Google is or another search engine is your friend. You just use your favorite, favorite search engine to play like X School virtual visit. And if the school has a tour, it will usually pop up among the top like ranked fines and I would just make sure that it’s whatever website you click on, it has that.

Like url and that it has like the school’s URL in it. So for example, if you’re logging into Harvard, like a lot of the things that are websites from Harvard is like So I was, I would just make sure you like fact check that as like a precaution against like any scams. And then if you can’t find they’re there, you can also email the admissions office and ask if they have virtual tours.

So can you use visits to help finalize your college list? So so how can you use it? How can you use it to help finalize your college list? So again, if you’re going on a college visit, it can help you have a more narrow focus and purpose for the visit. So you are thinking about. Okay, I’m gonna, I’m gonna go to these schools that I’m really interested in having having your list ready, you’re able to come up with like questions such as like, you know, do you prefer the campus culture here?

And then you’re able to go to the schools and have a more narrow vision on like, okay, I’m going there and I’m thinking specifically about the differences in the campus. You know, what do I like? The gothic style of Yale? Or do I like more of like the colonial brick of like Harvard Do I like, and again, these are like even secondary considerations but maybe something that you’re, that does matter to you.

Do you like? And that’s like, just like architecture. But when you’re thinking about like the culture, maybe you go to an admitted to a tour and you realize like people here seem really, really stressed out and like unhappy and like, I just don’t like this. That’s something to consider. Whereas if you go and people are like unexpectedly really friendly and like just really love their classes and seem like they’re having a good time, that again, can give you a good insight into is this a place where I will be?

Happy and enjoy and learn. And like, again, they’re always in college. There are moments of ups and downs, but knowing more about the culture is very helpful. I think I mentioned before, like do you like the proximity of the city to other amenities and things that facilities you might need? Do you like the residential system?

So for example, at Harvard we have all the freshmen are together in the Harvard like Harvard yard, which is like a space like kind of with a. Walls around there where like only freshmen are there, only freshmen live there. And you’re in different buildings within that big Harvard like yard.

And it was a really good opportunity to meet other freshmen and a good opportunity to not just like come into a brand new school and like meet everybody from every year and they can all be in your residential dorm. You were living with people who were going through the same experience of their first year in college and like imposter syndrome and the same potentially types of classes, like intro classes as you.

And then after that you were sorted into, randomly sorted into like one of the I think it was 12. Yeah, one of the 12 houses. Which are more, if you’re thinking like maybe Harry Potter style, where it’s like like you, this is usually where like your, a lot of your social community can be at. It doesn’t have to be, but like for example, you’re all living in this like, it’s not a house.

I would say it’s more like a giant building that has its own like dining hall and its own libraries and amenities and gyms, and so that was for me was like perfect of like, great, my first year I’ll meet a lot of freshmen, like be able to meet people who are my own year. And then after that I get sorted into a house that has like, you know, different amenities that I’m really interested in and like I can do more like intramural sports with them and like build a community for three years that doesn’t feel as transient.

And so that’s like a consideration you could have when you’re visiting colleges. And lastly you could use your visits to help finalize your college list by talking to students and staff. So maybe there’s questions that you have that you’re like, okay, I need to hear it straight from a student.

Like, what is it like going to this school? Like, how stressed are you really? Like how much time do you have to be in classes versus like a sport that you’re really interested in? And so one way you can do it, you can learn more from students and staff is by scheduling a meeting with a professor or an administrator, your desired major.

That doesn’t always happen. Professors are really busy and administrators are really busy. But sometimes if you, if you reach out to them early enough and you’re really in, you again, craft this with your advisor, CollegeAdvisor and think about like a very thoughtful note of like, Hey, I’m really interested in your research.

Like, these are the things like I’ve been reading from you. And like I’d love to like if I end up going to this school, I’d love to learn from you. Can I do you have time during like this, this tour that I’m taking to meet and talk more? So again, could be rare for, for professors to actually have that time, but it’s a really cool opportunity and can help you figure out give you another piece of evidence or reason for for applying to the school.

And then asking students on campus about their decision to go to the school and what they enjoy and don’t enjoy just gives you, again, a better perspective of okay, outside of like this, like well-crafted webpage for the school. What are the things that I’m really interested in? What are things that like students say that they love, that they don’t love?

What are some of the drawbacks? And like kind of get getting a more real picture of what going to the school will be like. And Leslie, should I connect with an admissions officer while you’re on your visit? So I think this can be a tricky question because I, the answer is usually like, yes. Like it would be great, like Sometimes it’s really hard to schedule a time with them.

But if you’re able, and sorry, I’m just gonna plug my computer in really quick. If you’re able to, then you can, you should definitely reach out and try to find a, a time to meet with them. But I would say the caveat to that is that AOS can be really busy and I, on top of like having a hard time scheduling a time, a time with them they can also, it can actually be to your detriment if you come and you’re just like, well, tell me about the school.

Because that’s, they’ll probably feel like, wait, you could have just looked at the webpage. So I would say you should schedule time with an admissions officer if you have questions. And again, the caveat to that is you should have questions like you’ve never been to the school before. Even from the website.

There’s probably things that, you know, you have questions or you should have questions about. Things that like you need to narrow down into. I would take time. Come up with a list of like, at least five questions that you wanna ask the admissions officer before taking, before taking some of their like, very important time that they’re using to, again, especially during a busy application season, I would make sure that you are using their time wisely.

And that they don’t come out of that feeling like, wow, this student just like, You know, ask me a ton of questions that they should have known from like the webpage. And what I would say is like, don’t be nervous about like, oh my gosh, am I repeating myself? I would say if you’re genuinely reading through the website and you have other questions that are, that are not answered there, I wouldn’t worry about like, am I asking you a question that’s already there?

Or like, you know, doing things wrong. Like, that’s fine if you look through the website and you still have questions that’s, that’s genuine. But it’s more so like if you haven’t done any research at all, if you haven’t looked into the school. Contacting your admissions officer or the admissions officer at that school shouldn’t be your first line of research.

And so some final advice on how to maximize your college visits. So I would say like I just finished saying do some in-depth research about the schools that you’re interested in before deciding to visit colleges. One, because you wanna. Be really cost effective about where you’re going to visit and like it, having a list of like what schools you’re interested in will help you do that.

Having a more, having more evidence for why you’re interested in those schools will help you to know how, how to use your time wisely. And then, Also will just help you to, if you’re gonna reach out to an admissions officer to have questions based on your research. And again, lastly, it will help you figure out how to invest in your in-person visits and give you a clearer purpose and vision for what you wanna get out of those.

So again, getting your best bang for your buck if you do some research ahead of time.

Okay. Thank you, Maria, for sharing more about making the most out of the college visits. So we’re now gonna move into our questions and answers. So how it will work is I will, Read your question that you insert into our Q&A tab. And Maria will answer the question. I’ll paste it into the public chat so that you’ll be able to see them.

And if you notice that the Q&A tab is not working, just try logging out and reentering the webinar through the custom link that was sent in your email. Okay, so I’m going to actually look at a question that was asked in our registration. So a pre-question. So let’s see. So our first question is, we plan to visit a number of colleges this summer, which is really great.

Summer is a great time to maximize the college visits. What is the best suggestion? To make these efficient trips. Should we register in advance, take a formal tour, meet with admission personnel, coaches? What is your advice? Yeah, so I would say if you’re still planning which ones to go to. I think one way to make it very efficient is to think about it regionally.

So thinking about like, okay, am I going to a specific city or am I just like, okay. Blank slate. There is like 10 schools across the country, but like six of them are in the northeast. Maybe you do like a northeast regional trip and you visit the schools around that area. And so I would say like that’s like at a broad, a broader answer to that question in terms of how to start making it efficient then when, once you’re actually at the school.

I would say like something that will buy you sometimes or be helpful is like, To like I think the person who submitted this question already alluded to registering registering early. So if you register early, you’re able to maybe you avoid the hassle of like, maybe on that particular day there was a lot of tourists and like maybe the, the chores that you were interested in are booked.

So I would register on those tours ahead of time. I would also think about I think I mentioned this earlier, if you wanna talk to a specific professor or admissions officer, Making sure that you contact them really early on. I would say like at least a month in advance. And send an email saying like, Hey, I’m, I’m potentially going on this, like during this time would love to meet with you.

And like, being a little bit more intentional about working around their schedule. Instead of having them work around yours. And so planning around that would also be important. Another thing is like, and I think the same applies if you’re trying to speak to a coach for students who are thinking about a varsity sport.

And then maybe another tip I would give for try to make sure that it’s an efficient trip is trying to think about ahead of time if like there’s any students that you wanna speak to. And thinking about like, okay. You know, I, you could either attend like a tour where you meet a student and you’re able to ask them after the tour more about their experience.

Or maybe you just like hang out if you wanna go during the summer and like during lunch, maybe. Again, I know a lot of like potential students like have lunch at Harvard Yard and they just wait for like a big group of people to come in and they’re just more social and are able to ask like, Hey, like what is your experience like?

And so thinking about. What level of interaction you wanna have with students on campus. Obviously without like, you know, in public space, public spaces and like where it is appropriate. Like, I think that is potential ways that you could just get the most out of your, your day at, at the school. Awesome.

So our next question is, is it still worthwhile to visit colleges over the summer since school is not in session? Yeah. Yeah. So as, as I mentioned earlier, one, most universities do like some type of summer program, so there’ll be students around two, there’s a lot of also like research that goes on during the summer.

So most schools will have like some graduate, most like colleges will also include like their graduate program. Like schools are gonna be nearby, so like, they’re, they’re. Schools for Arts and Sciences, the, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the medical schools, the law schools. And so folks would be around probably doing some type of research or internship, and so you’ll still get a chance to see that.

If anything, maybe it’ll be less crowded, potentially. Again, a lot of high school students, the only time they can go is during the summer, so maybe you’ll get a lot of people there. But I would say you will, if your worry is like not seeing students like you will see students, there are things going on, it will be less hectic.

But that could either be to your, to your advantage if you’re looking for just more opportunities to talk to admissions officers or to personnel that aren’t gonna be as busy with classes.

Okay. So I would like to share more about the work that we do within CollegeAdvisors. So for those who are in the room who aren’t already working with us, we know how overwhelming the admission process can be, especially for competitive applicants like yourself. Our team of over 300 former admission officers and admission experts are ready to help you and your family navigate it all in one-on-one advising sessions.

Take the next step in your college admission journey by signing up for a free consultation using the QR code on the screen. During the consultation, a member of our team will review your current extracurricular list, discuss how it aligns up with your college goals, and find opportunities for growth and leadership.

After scanning the QR code, you’ll be able to select the date and time for a full conversation with a member of our team. Okay, so we’re gonna continue with our remaining questions. Does it matter less to BIC universities compared to small private colleges, whether you visit the school or not?

Yeah, so I think that if, just to interpret this question all, so it seems like, does it. Is there a, an advantage or a disadvantage to visiting big schools versus small private colleges? Yes. So I would say, If possible, like try to do both. I think that there’s just different maybe ways to go about that.

If you’re going to like a big school, maybe think about like coming in more prepared with what you wanna see, because there’s gonna be so many things and like it’s probably a really big campus. And so coming in with like a, it might be more important for you to make like a very specific plan for what you wanna see, who you wanna talk to so you don’t feel so overwhelmed when you go and, and have access to all those all those different like.

Buildings or classes and then you get a better, yeah, that better bang for your buck for going to on that trip. When it comes to smaller schools, maybe you wanna just like take a tour and like have that be the starting point. And like you also maybe obviously like the basis of this is like you should have a plan, but it’s even more important if you’re going to a big school if you’re visiting a big school.

If you’re going to a smaller private school, you also might have more access to reaching out to admissions officers or to professors because this is like maybe something where the community is more important. It’s, again, smaller people are more tight knit, maybe departments are more tight knit, and so you have more opportunities to maybe talk to folks in person.

And so this is where I would also emphasize like trying to make more personal connections with folks on campus.

Oh, and I think you’re, you’re muted, Lonnie. I am. Thank you, Maria. Okay, so our final question is my son needs a small set of pointers so he can walk in feeling equipped without memorizing a long list of things. So maybe just like, are there just a few kind of pointers for students to kind of memorize, like when they’re maybe speaking to an admission officer or a.

Score guide. Yeah, so I would say that this is very school specific, so I think like my pointers would be not like specific questions that you should ask, but more so like things that can help you generate specific questions. So the first pointer I would give is make sure that you’ve done research before going in and figure out like, okay, what are things that really matter to me?

I think like as a, as the person mentioned on the, on the chat, like what would help my their son to not, Have to memorize something is like if you’re, if you’re, if the student really cares about these questions, if it’s genuine, this is something that will just be like, Hey, I wanna know the answer to this.

Instead of having to just memorize something to just like engage with someone on campus. So I would think about what are genuine questions that you have? One, because like, it will be easier to remember than to have to like, Just memorize off a piece of paper. And two, because folks answering your question will, will recognize like, hey, this is like something important to them.

Maybe if it generates like further conversation and they link you up with like, I don’t know, maybe you ask a question about like a specific class. Like they can say like, oh, actually that professor’s on campus if you wanna go speak to them. Or like, if you ask a question about sports, maybe they say like, the coach is in, or like, do you wanna see the facilities?

And so having. I would say doing your research beforehand, coming up with like first like areas of interest. So maybe starting more broad would be a second point. Or it’s like, okay, within academics, what are the things that are interesting to you? What are the types of questions you wanna learn about within extracurriculars?

And then narrowing down on like genuine, like three or four questions that you’re like, I really wanna know during this visit, I think will help not have to just be a, like what types of que, what questions can I ask to just like, Be noticed in the crowd.

Thank you. Thank you. So that actually was our final question for our webinar. So I want to thank you, Maria, for sharing this really great information about how to make the most out of your college visit. So I’m really I feel really good about the presentation and I know that our audience got some really great tips.

For them as they get ready to go on off to their college visits. So just a reminder for our upcoming webinar. So we do have a few webinars that we’re gonna be having this month. All of that information can be found on our website. You can register And we hope to see you at another webinar in the near future.

Thank you everyone. Have a great evening. Bye. Bye bye.