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If you’re a rising freshman or a transfer with an admitted students or prospective students day coming up, you don’t want to be caught off guard as soon as you step on campus. Most schools have mandatory presentations that you might have to attend at the start of the day, but you’ll probably find yourself with a few hours of free time at some point. Use this to your advantage! This is your chance to explore and really get to know the university for what it is. That being said, there are a few key areas that I’d definitely recommend you put on your priority list while you’re on the campus.

1. Dining Locations

A lot of schools require you to live on-campus for at least one year, so keep in mind that the dining locations that are around are going to be your primary source of food during your time there. Your school might recommend that prospective students go to the largest or most popular one for lunch, and you should definitely go to test out the quality of the school’s food. Don’t stop there though; if the school has multiple dining locations, there’s no harm done in dropping by a few, even if you’re not eating at them. This can give you a taste (literally) of what places you’ll be visiting on a daily basis to feed yourself.

2. The Library

As dull as this may sound, you’ll probably be spending more time than you anticipated at your university’s library, so you might as well get acquainted with it now. You don’t have to make a long visit, but go explore around and see what computer, printing, and research options will be available to you. This is also a great way to make sure that your school will cater to your studying needs, especially if you require full silence to concentrate.

3. The Dorms

This one is a toss up because some universities don’t allow prospective students to enter their current students’ living quarters, due to privacy. However, sometimes schools will open up a certain room or section of a dorm on prospective students day for you to tour. Additionally, it helps if you know someone from your high school (or anyone other student) that is currently attending the university and living on campus. This way, you can call them up and get your own private tour of their building. Try to visit some dorms if you can, because you’ll get a feel for what living at this school is actually going to be like.

4. Random Academic Buildings

If you know what you’re going to be studying, try to ask around and identify what building that subject is primarily taught in. Even if you don’t know what you’re going to major in, go ahead and explore some buildings on the campus. It’ll be a great way to immerse yourself into the student culture there, because eventually you could be roaming those halls while headed to your classes! Additionally, this will let you get a feel for the class sizes and teaching styles of the school.

5. The Gym

Even if you don’t even plan on going a lot, just do it. Most university gyms are free for students to use because the cost is covered in your tuition and fees. You might as well take advantage of this resource, so there’s no harm done in dropping by and seeing what this school’s gym has to offer. You never know what new hobbies you might decide to pick up in college!

Bonus Spot: Talk to Students On Campus

This isn’t really location-based, but no matter where you are on campus, try to talk to people. Most students will be open to answering your questions and pointing you in the right direction of where you need to go. Ask them what their favorite and least favorite things about the school and its campus are, and ask for any recommendations of places you should visit throughout your day. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to explore, approach people, and have fun!

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the author

Allison Capley is an editor, college life writer, and a member of James Madison University’s class of 2016 in Harrisonburg, Virginia. At JMU she studies Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication, with a minor in Health Communication. Allison’s favorite hobby is horseback riding. In the future, she aspires to live life to the fullest and obtain a career in medical and pharmaceutical writing.

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