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Campus Visits

The current CHS policy states that a student can take a total of 4 visits during their Junior and Senior for an excused absence. Students must turn in a completed “Request for Planned Absence” form 5 days prior to the visit for administrative approval.

There is no one way to visit a college campus, but the important part is to make sure that you visit! Some students visit schools early in the college search process; others decide to wait until April of the senior year to tour the campuses of the colleges that offered admission. Some students tour with parents; some tour with friends; and others visit alone.

On any given day, you might be part of a crowd of hundreds of students attending an open house or one of a few interested visitors. No matter which path you take, there is one question you need to answer: “Can I picture myself at this school for four years?”

While campus visits are important junior and senior year events, it is never too early to visit. Take advantage of any opportunity to walk around a college campus. Check out schools in or near your hometown, stop by colleges during family trips or vacations, visit friends or relatives at schools, and take virtual tours on the Internet.

The more campus visits that you make, the better you will become at sizing up a school and recognizing what you want in the future from a college or university.

Step One: Plan Your Visit

Before you make a visit, call the admissions office to gather information about and register for campus tours, information sessions, and open houses. An admission counselor can recommend classes to observe (even summer school classes), help schedule individual meetings with faculty and coaches, and send out a campus map, a parking permit, and information on nearby lodging. On a blitz tour of schools in a particular region, it is important not to cram in more than two schools in a day. A thorough visit usually requires half a day. Also, many visits can be scheduled directly on the Admissions website.

Learn everything you can about the school. Read the school catalog and browse its Web site. Make a list of questions that are important to you. Make a list of priorities and investigate them during your visit.

Some schools offer, recommend, or require an interview with an admissions counselor. When you call the admissions office before your visit, ask if a personal interview is an option. This is a wonderful chance for you to find answers to your personal questions.

Step Two: Make Your Visit Worthwhile

Everywhere you go, ask current students what they like – and don’t like – about the school.

Notice the condition of campus buildings, the presence of new construction, the atmosphere in the cafeteria, the availability of computers, the size of classrooms, and the announcements on bulletin boards. Remember to check out the area surrounding the campus, too.

If you visit with your parents, split up at some point so you can roam the campus alone for a taste of what it would be like to be on your own in this new place. Parents might use this time to meet with a financial aid officer.

Step Three: Record Your Visit in Words and Photos

Keep a notebook just for college visits. Take notes while you’re on campus and write down your impressions after each visit. Take pictures to help you remember what you saw and what you liked or disliked.

And, always write thank-you notes to any school official who met with you individually.

Good luck!