The Importance of College Visits

There are over 5,000 college and universities in the US, so students have a lot of choices. No matter which school students select, I ALWAYS encourage them to visit each institution. You may think,  a school, is a school, is a school. But, like all individuals are unique, institutions are as well. For example, at the University at Albany students classified as resident freshmen are not allowed to purchase a parking pass for their vehicle. Therefore, they are not allowed to park on campus. On the other hand, at Paul Quinn College all students must wear business casual clothing from 8am to 5:30pm. These are some details that you may not consider when applying online to colleges or perusing their websites. But, during a campus visit, you could observe environments and student’s behaviors. Here are some services and offices to check out when touring each campus. I have also added some potential questions to ask staff and faculty.

Residence Halls 


  • Are all halls co-ed or single-sex?
  • Which dormitories have stores or dining halls?
  • Can I have a room with one, two, three, four, or more roommates?
  • Do I have to vacate my room for each school break?
  • Is it possible to have a private restroom?
  • What items am I not allowed to have in the dorms?
  • Are students responsible for cleaning common areas?
  • Who is a Resident Assistant (RA) and what is their role?
  • Will there be a phone line and cable television in my room?
  • What are the prices of each residence hall?
  • Are upperclassmen allowed to reside on-campus?



  • What are the library borrowing policies?
  • How many libraries are located on campus?
  • Are there study rooms available in each library?
  • How can librarians assist me?
  • How much are printing fees?
  • Is there a fee to scan and copy documents?
  • How many free computer labs are loated on campus?

Health Center

First Aid

  • Does the institution offer health insurance for students?
  • Can I use my parent’s insurance at the school’s health center?
  • What types of physicians are available at the health center?
  • Does the health center offer walk-in hours and appointments?
  • What is the co-pay to use the health center?
  • Is there pharmacy on-campus?

Major Department/Program


  • Which courses are required to complete my major?
  • Are all major courses offered every semester? If not, is there a copy of the course rotation?
  • Can I sit in a required class during my visit?
  • Does this department/program offer free tutorial assistance?
  • Are there free printing services available for students?
  • Are courses taught by professors or graduate students?
  • How can I apply for scholarships and grants within my major?
  • How do I learn about internship opportunities related to my major?

Financial Aid Office & Bursar

Financial Aid

  • Can I meet with an advisor to seek institutional scholarships and grants?
  • What are the dates for disbursement payments from my financial aid?
  • How do I find out if I am eligible for work study?
  • Can I get financial aid to fund summer semesters?
  • What are the fees associated with attending this institution?
  • Is there a payment plan option to pay my bill?
  • What are the semester deadlines to pay my bill?
  • Are there late fees if I do not pay my bill by the due date?

Visiting the aforementioned recommended offices and departments can help you learn more about the campus and gain a feel for your prospective college. Explore every nook and cranny of an institution and speak with students to learn their experiences. Also, while visiting colleges don’t forget to check out the areas surrounding the institution. Feel free to contact me if you have questions regarding college visits.

~Dr. O

One comment

  1. I saw your interview on Dr. Boyce Watkins You Tube channel and I am so ecstatic that you are doing this. I wished that it was available when I was younger because I was a part of that category that did not know the appropriate questions to ask and I believe that this program would have been pertinent to my educational goals. Nonetheless, this information is absolutely invaluable for not only people who are like me, but for people who have no one to ask. I am so appreciative of what your purpose and mission is, Dr. Owens, and for taking the time and effort to better our community.

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