When visiting a college campus, you probably already know that you should take a campus tour, meet with campus faculty, ask questions, etc. These tasks are pretty common when it comes to the campus visit. However, if you really want to get the most out of your campus visit, you should also perform the following:
Spend the night on campus. During the campus tour, your tour guide will more than likely show you the dorm facilities. But if you really want to get a feel for the dorms, you should stay there overnight. By spending the night in a dorm, you would get to experience the communal showers, observe how floormates/suitemates/roommates interact with each other, get advice from the residential advisor, etc.
Read the campus newspaper. Get a copy of the student newspaper so you can know the current events of campus life. Reading the various articles and editorials will give you an idea of the campus atmosphere. Is the campus safe? Is the student body more liberal or conservative? Does the atmosphere seem positive?
Sit in on a class. To get a feel for college academia, arrange to sit in on a class or two. This will give you an idea of how college professors differ from high school teachers. It will also give you an idea of what kind of work is assigned at the school.
Eat in the dining hall. Since nourishment is essential for survival, you need to eat in the campus dining hall so you will know if you like the food or not. If you don't like the food served on campus, then it can get really expensive (not to mention unhealthy) eating at fast food restaurants every day. Campus cafeterias usually serve a variety of foods, so sample a few items to ensure that you will have a good array from which to choose.
Explore the surrounding area. It's crucial to explore the area surrounding the college when you make a campus visit. Can you quickly walk to restaurants, drug stores, grocery stores, etc.? Or is the surrounding area pretty rural, offering more places to go hiking, boating, skiing, etc.? Is it a community where you could easily find part-time work? Does the surrounding area feel safe? Can you see yourself living in this area for the next four or more years?
Check out campus bulletin boards. Be sure to check the campus bulletin boards to find out what events are going on in the surrounding area and on campus. These boards usually have postings about area concerts, sporting events, lectures, plays, club meetings, religious services, job openings, etc. Does the campus have a lot going on? Does it have too much going on for your taste? Do you see any advertised activities that interest you? What kinds of job openings are publicized?
Investigate the athletic facilities. Find out if the athletic facilities are just reserved for teams and physical education classes or if any student is welcome to use the facilities. If you love to swim, make sure there is a pool available for you to use. If you're a tennis junkie, try out the tennis courts. Does the school have work-out equipment? What about an ice skating rink? If you're an athletic person, these amenities are probably very important to you (even if you don't want to participate in a team setting).
Take part in leisure activities. What kinds of relaxation activities does the college offer? Some schools have game rooms, bowling alleys, movie theaters, golf courses, etc. right there on campus! Find out what the school offers and join in!
There's more to the campus visit than just a tour and interviews. In order to make the most of your visit, you need to find out as much as you can about the school and experience campus activities. If you can't visit a campus in person, be sure to take a virtual tour of the school.