If you have shortlisted the colleges of your choice, it is a good idea to explore the campus before joining.
By joining their new education programme, a few days prior to the commencement of the course, many students miss out on the golden opportunity to learn about the colleges they shortlist for higher studies.
Even though it's not necessary, you can consider attending a campus tour before finalising the college of your choice.
Visiting the campus will give you a real sense of the atmosphere, the academic programmes, fellow students, faculty, student life, the local area, and much more.
As you walk down the corridors of your selected universities, you will get an intuitive clarity about your choices and whether or not you feel at home in this new place.
Look for the right fit when you go campus touring and gauge whether this is an environment in which you can thrive.
Here's a checklist to guide you through the process:
1. Do your research prior to travel
Start by doing your groundwork.
After navigating through the entire admission process, make sure you know everything about the choice of programmes, curriculum, professors, and extracurricular offerings.
Also write down some insightful questions to ask students, alumni, admission officers, and faculty, once you arrive on campus.
2. Sign up for the campus tour
Most colleges offer campus tours for newcomers to help them understand the ethos and the culture of the college.
You'd do well by contacting the universities to find out the dates for the official campus tours before leaving the shores.
The official tour allows you to learn more about the university.
In addition, you will get meet staff and students to get a genuine campus feel.
Some universities will require you to pre-register for tours, and many offer tours at specific times and days of the week.
Contact the office of admission and the office of international student services to learn more about the possibilities for your campus visit.
3. On campus: Get a hands-on feel of the place
A good way to get a hands-on experience of campus culture is to scour the university grounds.
Make a note of all the facilities, the location of labs and libraries, the student help and information centers, accommodation facilities, and other places of interest.
Ideally, tag along with a student to help you acquaint yourself with other students and groups within the college.
If you have specific concerns or needs, approach the international student office to register your requirements.
4. Attend lectures
Ask if you can attend a class or two.
Most professors are happy to accommodate.
By being a part of the class you can get a deeper understanding of teaching style, classroom size, subject material and much more.
5. Connect with students and professors
You are here at an international school to maximise your learning and experience.
So don't shy away from interacting with the admissions team, students and professors.
Share thoughts, ideas, and your experiences with the admissions, students, and professors.
Develop a good rapport with the school fraternity, as this is very important for your academic future.
6. Visit important offices on campus
If it isn't part of the campus tour, you will want to visit the financial aid office, admissions office and the international student services office.
7. Create a diary of key takeaways
It will be difficult later to recollect the finer details of your campus tour experience.
While you are still touring, make sure to note down all that you consider important and can tip the scales for or against a university.
Write down your first impressions; what caught your interest or what put you off.
This detailed review is a handy note when you have to make the final decision about the college of your choice.
It will also serve as a ready reckoner while writing your essay on 'Why have you chosen our institute?' and during the interview process.
More importantly, the decision lies in the details.
You will find it easier to zero into your final choice when you go back and read your notes.
Besides, you don't want to miss out on great selfie opportunities with the best minds out there, right?
8. After the campus tour send thank you messages
Don't forget to make a courtesy call.
A lot of time and effort has gone into giving you a detailed campus tour.
Make sure to thank the people concerned.
A good gesture puts you in a positive light, and keeps you in the good books of important people.
Remember to include some specifics or interesting details regarding the conversation you had.
Visiting a campus to get a feel of the real deal is a good way to embark on your academic journey. Though it may cost your time and money, it is well worth it.
This article is written by Vibha Kagzi, Founder and Chief Education Officer at Reachivy.com.