To get a good feel of any college or university you are applying to, you should definitely visit prior to attending. Personally, I have visited many colleges: some on my college list, and others not. This led me to understand exactly what I wanted from my college experience. When scheduling a visit, you should make sure to get a tour, whether it be with alumni or through the university. Here are some things to keep in mind during your visit:
College tour advice:
- When on a college tour, make sure to ask questions! On most tours, barely any questions are asked, and people leave with unanswered concerns. If you are going to take the time out of your schedule to visit a school, make sure you get all the answers.
- Ask questions such as: What do you do on your spare time? Do you find yourself overwhelmed in your studies? What is the Jewish life like on campus? Whatever you find to be the most important, make sure you ask!
- If you are not comfortable asking questions in front of the tour group, ask the tour guide after. I have found that they love to answer your questions and will spend time with you after the tour.
When to go:
- The best time to visit a college is during the school year. If you can, you should try to go during the week so that you can see what the campus life is like while classes are being taught. Personally, seeing the people walking around the campus allows me to better understand the vibe of the school.
- If it is a school that has different climates than Los Angeles, then try to go during a time that… For example, if you are thinking about going somewhere with harsh winters, try to visit then to experience that type of weather.
- Try to go when you can spend a whole day there, or maybe even two.
What to do while you are there:
- Try to connect with alumni! I have had much success when reaching out to alumni or friends that are current students. Seeing past Milken students allows you to understand what it is like coming from Milken.
- Go to a school event. Whether you are looking into a big “ra-ra” school or a small liberal arts school, there is always something going on as a part of the campus life. Try going to a sports game or another campus event.
- Check out the surrounding town/city. Go to the places where you would go if you were a student there. Try to really get the feel of what your life would be like if you attended.
- Check out the dining halls, dorms and other facilities to make sure they are suitable for your needs.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Does the school have the major I want? Is it a popular major? Is there a specific advantage in going to this specific school for this major?
- Do I care whether the political opinions of the students are vastly liberal or conservative? Does a lack of political involvement bug me?
- If Jewish life is something that is important to you or if you keep specific traditions, is it convenient or possible to keep them at the school? For example, do they have kosher food?
- In general, do the people look happy?
- Is there a lot of school pride? Does the school have a big alumni connection?
- Can I picture myself attending this school?