The classic Reuben is a deli sandwich, served hot. It’s comprised of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing all packed between two slices of grilled rye bread. (And, it’s delicious.)
But knowing the ingredients and hearing that it’s a tasty sandwich don’t give you an accurate experience of the hot, grilled and crunchy sandwich on your taste buds. Maybe you won’t like it. Maybe you will.
Similarly, you can hear all about the various “ingredients” available at a particular college. But you’ll miss out on the true flavor unless you visit for yourself.
Here are four reasons why you should take advantage of a campus visit to the college of your interest.
1. Campus visits offer face-to-face interaction.
Grabbing coffee with a friend is different from texting, right? Well the same goes for meeting current students — very different from reading the student testimonial section of the website. The best way to understand the personality of the students on a given campus is through in-person conversation.
Obviously, you can only meet a small portion of the student population. But even few personal conversations can give you an inside look into the institution and its students.
Make sure you have a few questions in mind before approaching someone; you’ll get more information if you brainstorm ahead of time.
2. Physical campus visits offer a more accurate depiction than virtual tours.
A promotional video tour captures the best and most beautiful parts of campus: imposing architecture, sweeping grassy areas and state-of-the-art tech facilities. But what if those bits only make up a fraction of the campus? What if the walk between those two beautiful buildings featured in the video is actually industrial? Maybe the campus sprawls out over a massive area or maybe it’s inconveniently organized.
On the flip side, the charm and intellectual inspiration exuding from every corner are impossible to portray in a mere video. Maybe the sidewalks between buildings and areas have creative landscaping and original sculptures by local artists. Either way, the picture a video gives is at best, incomplete and at worst, misleading. These concerns can be assuaged if you simply commit to visiting a campus in person.
3. Experiencing classrooms and professors are important when choosing a college.
Prospective students care to read reviews of professors within the departments they plan to take classes. What better way to confirm or contradict the critiques of other students than to sit in on a class yourself? Many professors receive mixed reviews since students have such different learning styles, but it’s worth your while to see which professors’ teaching styles work for you.
Be sure to observe both a larger lecture style class and a more intimate discussion-oriented class. Most majors will include a smattering of each and professors will conduct themselves very differently in the two settings (as will students). Try to imagine if you were a student and whether you would be engaged by the lesson and teaching style. If so, the college and the professor might be a good fit!
4. Campus visits help students gather correct and helpful information in person.
Every prospective student needs practical information from a school in order to apply. Such things include financial aid options and application requirements. While a school should make those details readily available on its website, there’s often some uncertainty about the details.
One of the most helpful parts about visiting a school in person is the chance to visit various administrative offices and get the inside scoop. You might learn from an admissions counselor which components of your application are most heavily weighed. You also can receive a holistic explanation of the scholarships and financial aid available to you rather than the quick summary from a webpage. And, you can get a list of names, numbers and email addresses that will put you in contact with the right person when you get home and realize you have even more questions.
5. Making the most out of your campus visit is key.
You could try making a Reuben with whatever deli meat you find in your fridge. Or you could eat it cold instead of grilled because you’re short on time. But you’d be missing out on the full experience.
Similarly, your experience of the academic and campus atmosphere will be as thorough as you make it. Don’t sit back and allow the day to escape; plan ahead and take hold of every opportunity you can in order to make the most informed decision about where you will pursue your college degree.
Are you interested in pursuing a degree from Silver Lake College? We invite you to attend our Campus Visit Day for additional information regarding the kind of degrees offered at Silver Lake.