Once you are accepted to a college, depending on the school, you may have the opportunity to visit for an accepted (or admitted) students day. While the programs differ from school to school, they often include presentations on the programs the school offers, tours, mock-classes, free stuff, food, and various other events to introduce you to the school in a more realistic way than the tours anyone can take. For a lot of people, this is what helps them decide whether or not the school is actually the right one for them. The entire experience can be crucial, so often times it is a bit overwhelming, but here are some dos and don’ts to make the most out of the day.
DO Take Notes
Especially if you are attending more than one accepted students day or it is the first time visiting the school, take notes. Over time, colleges start to blend together, and you might forget why you liked one school or attribute something you liked about one to another. However, don’t just take notes about what you are told about the school. Take notes on how you feel about certain aspects and your overall experience.
DO Leave Your Parents Behind
Parents can be a little overwhelming—especially during college visits. A lot of accepted students days separate the students from their parents for part of it, but if the one you are attending doesn’t, consider doing something on your own while you are there. This allows you to see how you would actually be at the college—not constantly around your parents. Plus, it helps take away part of the “Oh my gosh, my parents are so embarrassing” feeling.
DON’T Judge Too Quickly
Newsflash: no school is one hundred percent perfect. Sometimes you may experience one thing that makes you question why you even wanted to go to that particular school. While it is important to acknowledge what you don’t like about a college, realize that often these things are very small in the grand scheme of things. Go through the entire day and take what you experienced in context.
DO Visit the Dorms
They might have nothing to do with the education the college provides, but the dorms are where you will be living for at least a year. Especially be sure to visit the freshman dorm (or if there isn’t one, the one where most freshman end up—usually the biggest one). They shouldn’t completely make or break your decision, but the dorms are definitely an important factor.
DO Eat the Food
Similar to the dorms, the food shouldn’t make or break your decision, but it is what you will be eating frequently. Pay special attention to what they offer if you have dietary restrictions—you don’t want to end up having a mandatory meal plan and nothing you can eat.
DON’T Take What Your Hear and See as Complete Truth
What you see on an accepted students day is probably going to be the college at its best. Life there is not going to be the same as what they want you to think it is. Take what the presenters and tour guides say into consideration, but take it with a grain of salt. They are probably being paid to make you want to come to the school. That doesn’t mean they are lying to you, it just means they are probably leaving out some bad parts or are slightly exaggerating. On the flip side, if someone you talk to doesn’t like the school, also consider that they are not the same person as you, and you most likely will not have the same experience.
DO Talk to Other Current Students
Students that aren’t being paid to show you around are going to be more honest—use that to your advantage. Talk to other students and find out what they like and don’t like about the school. Ask them about the things that tour guides won’t give you a straight answer about. It is also a good idea to ask them why they decided to attend that college, as it might help you figure out if it’s somewhere you want to be.
DO Talk to Someone Who Doesn’t Like It
Not everyone that attends a college loves it. Try to find out why, because that reason might be very important to you. However, like the tour guides, don’t take everything as truth. You won’t have the exact same experience, and you are not that person. You may never have to deal with what they don’t like, so you shouldn’t let it completely change your decision.
Definitely talk to other accepted students—but don’t be rude. Don’t brag about what other colleges you got into, your grades, your accomplishments, or anything else. If someone asks you a question, feel free to answer it, but don’t bring up things just to one-up the other students.
DO Compare What You Like and Don’t Like
While speaking to other accepted students, compare notes. Discuss why you like certain things and don’t like others. This will allow you to clarify and help you figure out what exactly makes you like or dislike the school. All of the accepted students are in a similar place, so they are a great resource to help you talk your thoughts out.
DON’T Expect Everyone to Have the Same Opinion
With the other accepted students (and current students), don’t expect their experience to be the same as yours. Sometimes a college is right for one person and completely wrong for another—and that’s perfectly fine. After all, you are at an accepted students day to figure that out for yourself—and figure out if that college is really where you belong.