Making the Most of Your Campus Visits

Check the college’s website to see if in-person campus visits are allowed. You may have to register in advance. Some schools allow prospective students to sit in on classes when school is in session; this would likely require you to ask the admissions office at least a few weeks in advance.

Official Visits

Official visits usually include an information session and a campus tour. At the information session, listen for:

  • Majors offered
  • When students have to declare their major
  • Distribution requirements (classes that all students have to take)
  • How much/what kind of professor/student interaction there is
  • Class sizes

On the campus tour, you'll likely see:

  • Academic buildings
  • A residence hall (maybe an actual dorm room)
  • A dining hall (where you can see what the food options are like)
  • The student union or student center

Ask the campus tour guide:

  • What clubs and activities they participate in
  • Sources of support for both academic and personal issues
  • Course selection process: i.e., can students usually get into the classes they want
  • What students do on weekends

Campus tour guides are generally very informative. However, as you become more interested in specific schools, find out if there are other ways to connect to current students, especially those in the major you are interested in.

Unofficial Visits

You can get useful information from an unofficial visit to a college. Walk around campus, going into some of the buildings such as the student center if possible. Visit the admissions office for brochures, take a look at bulletin boards, pick up a student newspaper.

It will likely be hard to visit all of the schools that you are interested in applying to. To get a feel for different-sized campuses, you could take a look at one small school (less than 5,000 students); one medium-sized school (5,000 to 15,000 students); and one large university (more than 15,000 students).

Local Colleges and Universities of Different Sizes

  • Marymount University, Arlington, VA: 2,287 undergraduate enrollment
  • Coppin State University, HBCU in Baltimore: 2,362 undergraduate enrollment
  • American University, DC: 7,627 undergraduate enrollment
  • George Washington University, DC: 11,999 undergraduate enrollment
  • Towson University: 19,818 undergraduate enrollment
  • University of Maryland, College Park: 30,762 undergraduate enrollment