A campus visit is often the best way to evaluate whether a school suits your child. Here are 10 easy ways how you or your child can go about it:
1. Prepare before your visit
Learn about the school by reading its materials and checking out its website. If you are visiting more than one school on a particular day, ensure that you can spend sufficient time at each destination.
2. Evaluate the environment of the campus
Is the campus too big or too small for your child? Consider how your child would get around campus, especially in adverse weather conditions. Look for quiet places to study.
3. Take a student-led campus tour
This allows your child to ask questions about campus life from a peer. Do note that these tour guides are not necessarily typical of all students since they formally represent the school.
4. Visit the admissions office and participate in the information session
Ask questions that help you to understand the academic programme at the school and the type of student who is most comfortable and successful there.
5. Schedule meetings with department heads
If possible, your child should arrange for campus meetings with department heads in the subjects that interest him or her.
6. Check out the dorms
If your child is considering this option, find out about the options available, such as all-freshman or coed. Will your child be comfortable with where it is located on campus, such as the proximity to classes?
7. Sit in for classes
This allows your child to observe the rapport between students and faculty in the classroom.
8. Life beyond academics
Check out the athletic facilities, libraries and student centre. Read the notices posted in the dorms or on bulletin boards.
9. Have lunch and watch student interactions
Mealtimes are great opportunities to talk with students all over campus about their impressions of the school. Look at the students themselves. Does your child feel comfortable among them?
10. Note down the impressions of your visit
If you don’t immediately record your thoughts, the visions of different schools will start to blur after a while, especially after you have visited a few campuses. Keep a list of pros and cons for comparison, and compare notes with your child.