Every college visit should have at least two dimensions: formal and informal. Use this checklist to begin your planning. And don’t forget to call the college ahead of time to schedule your visit—the admission office can help you hit all the highlights.


  • Take a campus tour.
  • Have an interview with an admission officer.
  • Participate in a group information session at the admission office.
  • Sit in on a class (or two).
  • Talk to a professor in your chosen major.
  • Talk to a coach in your chosen sport.
  • Talk to a student or counselor in the career center.
  • Spend the night in the dorm with a current student.


  • Read the student newspaper, even the ads.
  • Try to find other student publications—department newsletters, alternative newspapers, literary reviews.
  • Eat in the cafeteria.
  • Ask a student why he/she chose this college, and what their favorite part about it is.
  • Wander around the campus by yourself.
  • Search for your favorite book in the library.
  • Read the bulletin boards in the student union and in the academic department you’re interested in.
  • Ask a student what he/she dislikes about the college.
  • Browse in the college bookstore.
  • Eavesdrop on students to hear what they’re talking (or complaining) about.
  • Walk or drive around the community surrounding the campus.
  • Find out how most students get around: Is there public transportation? Can you have a vehicle on campus?
  • Ask a student what he/she does on weekends.
  • Visit career services and ask about upcoming job opportunities.
  • Look into clubs and organizations on campus that interest you.
  • Listen to the college’s radio station.
  • Try to see a dorm that you didn’t see on the tour.
  • See if you can imagine yourself as a student at the college.