Top Thoughts From My First College Visit

Although I’m a high school senior preparing to graduate in three short months, my first college visit didn’t come until Saturday, February 28th, 2015. As my family toured the University of California, Riverside, I was thrust into a new world of possibilities, but a whole book of unanswered questions.

Flickr Daniel Orth "Looking towards University of California Riverside"
Flickr Daniel Orth “Looking towards University of California Riverside”

As my Mom, Dad, brother and I walked onto the campus, the first thought I had was the size of the campus. I had perused the college visit map in the car, and I was immediately overwhelmed by how big it appeared. However, as I got on campus, the school seemed small, friendly, and something I could imagine myself getting the hang of within the first week.

Campus size is one of the most important factors when on the search for the perfect college campus. Do you like a large campus filled with a vast array of people, or are you more comfortable with a smaller campus with people you can develop close relationships with? For me, I grew up in a small town (my senior class has 600 students!), so a small campus was something I was comfortable in. However, if you’re more extroverted and like to meet a lot of different people, a bigger campus could be ideal for you.

Moving past the size of the campus, my family and I were headed to the humanities wing, where different majors had their own individual booths explaining the details of the program. My next thought upon seeing professors eager to answer questions was what if I don’t have any questions to ask? I’ve been hearing the financial aid, scholarship and extracurricular spiel for as long as I could remember, so when I was asked if I had any questions for the school, I dumbfoundly said “no.”

Don’t be worried if you don’t exactly know what you don’t know (confusing, I know). Instead, let the professors do the talking! Ask about their program, what inspired them to teach this specific field, and what careers are available in the field. Most of the time, professors know that you may not know what to expect at a college campus, so they try to be as inviting and open as possible. Approach them, introduce yourself, and explain that you want to hear more about their major. Prepare to be surprised at the youthful passion that professors can show once you get them talking about their favorite subject!

Ultimately, college visits are an important tool to get a feel of the campus. While it’s scary at first, connect yourself with the right people such as professors, counselors, and student volunteers, and let the day naturally flow! They are trained to speak about their school on a college visit, so come with an open mind and an eagerness to explore the academic opportunities at their campus.

What was your first college visit like? Let us know in the comments below!

All my best,

Julia Schemmer

Julia Schemmer

I am a high school senior from a small town in California, dreaming of becoming an international human rights lawyer, foreign correspondent and diplomat in the Middle East.

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