I LOVE visiting colleges! I love walking the campus, talking with students, visiting classes, and of course, taking the college campus tour! Some tours are more fun than others, of course, and sometimes the success of the visit hinges on how fun the tour guide was, but still….I love college campuses!
The college campus visit is a must for all college bound students. If you cannot afford to visit every college in person, then take a virtual tour or view a campus video on a site like http://www.youniversitytv.com/. There is nothing like a stroll around campus to see if a college “fits”, and feels right to the student. It is always amazing to me, but students feel the “fit” when they visit a campus. It doesn’t seem to matter how beautiful the campus is, or where it is located, if it fits, the student knows it. Colleges are like people, they have definite personalities. cozy, intimate, charming….intellectual, historical, beautiful….modern, sleek, busy….they are all different.
As an example, I visited two campuses yesterday with two very distinct personalities. The University of Southern California is a very urban campus, quite close to downtown Los Angeles. Today, with the fires burning closer and closer to the city, smoke could be seen billowing in the cloudless sky. The surrounding area is urban, the campus is busy, with construction going on apace, and students walking, biking, and running. The university isn’t huge, medium sized around 17,000 or so (undergraduates), yet it feels larger. It is a pretty campus close to the Los Angeles Coliseum and Trojan pride is seen in the athletic fields. The person who would be comfortable at USC is an independent individual who can multi-task and doesn’t mind larger classes, a go-getter, someone who makes friends easily and is not intimidated by the size and number of people on campus.
My next stop was Whittier College, a mere 30 minutes from USC, but in many respects light years away. The billowing smoke could still be seen from a distance, but the town of Whittier has a small town feel. The town is neat and clean and bordered by trees which create canopies over the streets. The campus is small and intimate with consistently mediterranean architecture and blooming flowers on every walkway. A person who wants personal attention, a slower pace and a close community would be comfortable at Whittier. With a student body of 1300 a student will get to know her/his professors, and absences from class will be noticed! But many students thrive with the one on one a small campus environment provides.
Both institutions have the capability to inspire, both can academically challenge, but the “fit” is completely different. I cannot see a happy USC student at Whittier, and vice versa. And this is why campus visits are so very, very important! Students, you must learn to know yourself before you choose a college, as it is absolutely crucial to understand how you learn, what environment will fit you, because choosing a college is a personal experience. Visit the campus, even if only online!
Visit my Facebook page, College Adventures and become a Fan! I have several albums of many campuses for you to look at!