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How to make the most of a college visit

Above: Bryce Stutler visiting CU Boulder; Inset: Maddie Landis visiting California Polytechnic University.

Article and photos by Lisa Nicklanovich

Planning a college visit over the upcoming break to determine if the school is the right fit for your student? Make the most of your visit by following these tips:

Be an Anthropologist: On campus, record your impressions in a notebook or on your phone, take photos, and video the campus and surrounding area. Those “field notes” will prove invaluable to review after you’ve visited a few colleges and also give you specific material to include in your application essays. Ask the tour guide and current students insightful questions such as, “What do you like best and least about this school? How accessible are the professors? Is it easy or difficult to get into the classes you want?”

Dig Deeper: If possible, visit dormitories, libraries, cafeterias, athletic facilities, concert halls, neighborhood coffee houses, and any other facility that you would likely use if you attended the school. Read the student newspaper and picture yourself living on campus.

Be a College Student:
Sitting in on a class will give you a feel for what the typical teaching environment is. Will you learn best and be more comfortable in small seminar-type classes or large lectures? Ask to speak with a member of an academic department you’re interested in to learn what factors differentiate the department.

Reach out to the Admissions Office: Try to meet with the admissions officer who reads applications from Colorado students. Call the college at least two or three weeks in advance and know that when admissions officers are busy reading applications they may not have time to meet with prospective students. Interacting personally with this key gatekeeper gives you more insight about the college, establishes an advocate in the admissions office and shows “demonstrated interest” which can be a credit on your application.

After the visit: Organize notes, label photos, and summarize the pros and cons of the college while the visit is fresh in your mind.

Special thanks to Castle Pines resident Sarah Tierney, president of Mosaic Admissions, LLC, for the suggestions in this article.

Go to www.mosaicadmissions.com or call 720-289-6936 for more information.

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