A picture’s worth a thousand words, but a campus visit will leave you speechless. Anything can look great online, and colleges are no different. The best way to fact-check those charming online photos is a campus visit; when it comes down to your future experience, why rely on anyone else’s opinion to guide your choice? Take a look at these five reasons why you need to experience it all for yourself.
1) Pictures can be deceiving. Of course the campus is going to look gorgeous online, but how does it look for the other 364 days a year when the sun doesn’t hit it just right and the students aren’t perfectly posed? A campus tour will show you exactly what you’re getting into and will also allow you to check out other facilities that otherwise go without mention. Schools are sure to highlight the most scenic parts of campus but how often will you be visiting them? It doesn’t mean much to have a killer football field if you’re more of a bookworm type. Prioritize where you’ll be spending the majority of your time and tour accordingly. I was adamant about checking out the different options for working out and Naz delivered: yoga in the chapel, a scenic campus to run around, and an open gym.
2) You realize the little things could make a big difference. That school you’ve had your eye on for months could appear flawless but once you get there you realize that the small details are a total pain. Commute times, how many floors a building has, quiet areas for phone calls, and traffic don’t seem like deciding factors, but little things definitely carry their weight – especially when they compound together. I’m not one for bumper to bumper traffic or half hour commutes to class, so I was ecstatic when I learned that my drive to class would only be ten minutes and that’s assuming I got stuck behind someone slow.
3) You get a feel for the surrounding area. Of course the campus itself is important but the area around you can be just as vital to your college experience. Your campus and the city or town you find yourself in should have the following three non-negotiable factors: safety, fun, and opportunities. The area around campus needs to make you feel safe at any time of day, give you things to do with friends, and provide you with access to jobs and internships. With Naz being close to – but not directly in – Rochester, I get to experience everything I love about cities (coffee shops and museums and restaurants oh my!), but at the end of the day I know I’m safe and won’t have to worry about noise or traffic in the quiet little village of Pittsford that Nazareth is nestled in.
4) You’ll get to meet the faces of the website. Students speak louder than pamphlets, and the simple act of people watching could be an eye opening experience. Going on a campus tour will allow you to see if students really are as happy and school spirited as they appear on their website and let you see if you mesh well with the type of students on campus. When I toured Naz, I saw a girl wearing the a shirt for a band I listened to on the car ride over there; if that wasn’t a sign that I would fit in on campus, I don’t know what is.
5) You just might get your “a-ha” moment. I’m totally stealing JCPenney’s slogan for this one: when it fits, you feel it. When you’re walking around campus, you might get that feeling that you just “fit” with the school. If it’s anything like my experience, it will be random and unexpected: I was walking by the dorms under a lines of fall toned trees, you might be sitting in one of your future classrooms or see someone who you can picture getting coffee with when that “home away from home” feeling strikes.
I get it; the college search process is long and stressful. The past few months have been nothing but web surfing, sorting through mail, and you feel like you simply don’t have the time to spare. Trust me when I say that a campus visit is one of – if not the most – important step in the college search process, and that one afternoon could be the decision maker.
Inspired? Register for a tour with us!
Feeling overwhelmed about what to do once you’re on campus? Check out our “10 Questions You Absolutely Have to Ask Your Tour Guide” to make the most of your time on campus.