To visit or not to visit


Michaela Malec

Boston College is a favorite among students that offers many gothic style buildings.

With spring break coming up, everyone’s been discussing their upcoming travel plans. Because I’ll be staying in Chicago’s lovely 30 degree weather for break, I’ve found myself tuning out when I start to hear people discuss where they’ll be going on vacation. Despite my limited attention though, I’m realizing that a very large number of people in my grade are using their breaks to visit colleges, bringing up the age old question: does it really matter how many schools, if any, you visit during the college admissions process?

Samantha Moriarty
University of Washington’s campus is centered around a large fountain in the middle of campus.

Visiting colleges can be one of the most exciting – and nerve-wracking – parts of choosing which college will be the right one for you. I’ve visited around 10 colleges in my life, and I’ve done about five official school tours. From what I’ve seen at the schools I’ve visited, I strongly believe that college visits are essential to the process of choosing where you’ll be spending the next four years. 

“A college visit can give a more complete picture of what the school is really like, helping you determine the type of schools you do or don’t like,” said Mrs. Regnier, director of Counseling and Social Work. “Being on a campus lets you really get a feel for the campus community, giving you a much better idea if the college will be a good fit and if you will be happy there.”

Personally, I think visiting a college allows you to experience the school you’re looking at in a way that no brochure or website can. Being on campus gives you an insight into the type of students that attend that school, the surrounding area, and the quality of the dorms, classrooms, and other campus spaces. Also, visiting schools can pleasantly surprise many prospective students.

Samantha Moriarty
Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. has many Spanish-style buildings, which fit in with the warm weather.

“Before I went to visit Indiana University, I thought I was going to hate it because so many people from Central go there, but after visiting the school and walking around the campus, I could really see myself going there,” said Katie Helliwell, senior.

While I believe college visits are very beneficial, I do completely understand that it’s not financially an option for many students to visit schools due to the costs of flights, hotels, and just overall travel fees. Many of the schools I’ve visited have been within driving distance, taking only a day to go check out schools around the Midwest. For those who aren’t able make college visits, there are other options in which students can learn a lot about potential schools as well.

“Talk to your counselor and let them help you identify schools that might be a good fit and use Naviance or other online tools to learn more about the schools,” Mrs. Regnier said. “Try to connect with an HC alumni that is currently attending the school and talk to them about their experience.”

In end the, I believe that if you have the opportunity, time, and money, making a visit to a college you’re interested in could be the final piece in helping you find your dream school.