College Visits Part #1: Mapping Out Your College Visits

Recently I had the pleasure of connecting with a prospective student visiting campus. She enlightened me on the value of visiting campus when she shared her story: “Aside from my goals academically, I was told by a family member to visit and pay attention to the current students… if I enjoyed interacting with them, could see myself being friends with them, and felt as if I wanted to be like them – then this was the college for me. I need to see myself in others at the college, because I could become that person someday.” An interesting perspective, right? Imagine the potential of visiting an environment that provides insight into your future self. Can you see yourself being friends with people in the community? Do you feel excited about learning in this environment? Will you be challenged to become the best version of yourself? The only way to find the answers to these questions, as they relate to your college search, is to set foot on campus and immerse yourself in all aspects of the college. The college search process poses many questions you’ll have to answer on your own, but let me help by answering a few questions you may have in finding the right college for you.  The first answer is – “Visit Us!

Who can visit?

This may depend on the type of visit you are taking part in. For example, mom and dad will most likely not be allowed to stay with you during an overnight visit. When it comes to daily visits and large events, most schools encourage family members to attend.

When can a student start visiting colleges? At Grove City College, we welcome anyone to visit campus! Seniors and juniors are most likely to visit campus as they begin their college search, however, we welcome anyone who is interested in learning more about the College.

When can I visit?

Most schools provide several options for visiting campus throughout the year, although it is best to visit when the college is in session and students are on campus. Remember the conversation I mentioned above: we want you to interact with current students (and faculty). If you come when campus life is in full swing, that will be the best indicator of whether or not the environment is the right fit for you!

An ideal timeline would entail doing a general, informative visit sometime during your junior year of high school. This visit should include a question-and-answer session with an admissions counselor, a faculty meeting, and a financial aid appointment. I would then recommend doing a more in-depth follow-up visit during the fall of your senior year of high school. During this visit you’ll want to get a good picture of what your life would look like as a student here. Attend classes if given the opportunity, stay overnight with a student host, attend a team practice if you’re interested in playing a sport, eat in the cafeteria, and most importantly ask current students questions. Don’t be afraid to probe them for information on their favorite and least favorite aspects of the college.

I realize that you all have very busy schedules and some of you may live on the other side of the country, so multiple visits might not be possible. Not to worry! There are other ways you can get to know a college. Ask your admissions counselor to connect you with current students and alumni who share common interests, perhaps by field of study or extracurricular activity. You can also ask them about getting connected with an alumnus who lives in your area. That way you can meet face-to-face with someone and really get the inside scoop on the college.

If you are a senior and just beginning your college search, don’t panic! You have plenty of time to conduct a strategic and thorough search, but you will need to be proactive about it.

If you are considering visiting Grove City College, here are a few options to consider:

Personal Visit:

Personal visits are what you make them. At Grove City College, we strongly encourage you to interview or attend a question-and-answer session with an admission counselor to learn more about the College. We can also set you up with a walking campus tour, lass visit, lunch or dinner in one or more of our dining halls, and an overnight stay with a current student. Learn more and set up your appointments here.

Open House Events:

Starting in the fall, we offer several open houses that showcase the College’s top-tier academic programs and provide a glimpse of student life at Grove City College.  Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about our challenging academics, meet current students and faculty, take a walking tour of campus, and enjoy dining in our cafeterias. Learn more and register here.

Virtual Tour:

If you simply can’t make it to campus, our Virtual Tour is a helpful alternative. You’ll have the opportunity to browse campus, learn our story, and look inside our state-of-the-art buildings. Click here to take your virtual tour.

By now you’re probably getting lots of college brochures and catalogs in the mail. Perhaps you already attended presentations by college representatives or your guidance counselor, and maybe you’re starting to browse college websites and follow them on social media. These things have the potential to form your opinion of each school, but it’s nearly impossible to evaluate your fit based on promotional literature. At Grove City College, we want you to visit and determine if we’re the right fit for YOU. Your decision should be based on where you feel most comfortable – academically, socially, and spiritually. It is not uncommon for a student to think that a college is right for them based on initial research, but later find out that it is not the right fit. It’s best to explore your options before you arrive in the fall with your bags and books in hand! I encourage you to visit your top colleges this summer or fall to experience firsthand the environment, academics, housing, and social life of each school. We hope to see you on campus soon!


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