No-School November is a Great Time for College Visits

lockersNo-school days in November are great opportunities for students (juniors especially) to visit local colleges. Even if your student insists they will not be staying in-state, students are often pleasantly surprised at how much their state schools offer. Regardless, I still recommend visiting a large, state university in your home state, along with one or two smaller private colleges. Visit an urban school, along with ones in suburban or rural settings. Students should take notes on what they like from each visit and use that information to find similar schools in different geographical locations. It makes good financial sense for students to learn about what they like and don’t like using local resources before spending money on airfare and hotels.

Here are some upcoming Visit Events at a few universities in Oregon (Registration is required, and November dates fill up quickly):

University of Oregon

Duck Fall Preview November 8th: https://visit.uoregon.edu/duck-preview

Other UO visit opportunities in November: https://secureservices.uoregon.edu/tourcalendar/2019-11

Oregon State University:

November 2nd: Beaver Open Houses are full-day fall programs that provide an in-depth look at Oregon State

Beaver Previews: For prospective high school students beginning their college search, Beaver Previews are half-day programs to learn the basics about Oregon State. Registration for Saturday, November 23 is open. Spring dates will open in early 2020.

  • Saturday, November 23 – Registration open!two girls walking
  • Saturday, February 15
  • Monday, March 23
  • Friday, April 3

University of Portland:

Visitation Days are full-day programs (9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.) where you learn about UP academics, campus resources, and student life. Take a tour with current students, have lunch, tour our residence halls, learn about financial aid, and more.

This day is ideal for high school students and their families. Please register 2-3 weeks in advance. For more information, read here.

Upcoming Visitation Days

Friday, October 11, 2019
Monday, November 11, 2019
Friday, February 14, 2020
Monday, February 17, 2020
Monday, March 23, 2020
Monday, March 30, 2020
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Friday, April 17, 2020

Reed College

Junior Visit Days are half-day explorations of the college admissions process at Reed. Junior Visit Day occurs November 23, January 17, and March 27.

Willamette’s Cardinal & Gold Day offers students the opportunity to connect with students and faculty, explore academic departments and campus life offerings, and find out how they fit into the Willamette community.

Tips Before You Go

Before you head out on your tour, you need to prepare to make the most of your visit.  Continue reading for my favorite College Visit Tips.

  • Go to the admission session and take the official tour. Some schools care about students showing Demonstrated Interest. When you attend an official tour and admission session, it is noted in your file and might be considered as part of your admissions decision. These sessions vary in the amount of information they provide but try not to judge a school based solely on its presenter or tour guide.
  • Plan your trip early. The most informative part of a tour is often meeting with a department head or professor in the subject area you are interested in studying, or even sitting in on a class. You need to request this opportunity at least two weeks in advance.
  • Build in time to explore. Allow time to eat in one of the dining halls and explore the surrounding area. Take the time to find the essentials you need to feel at home (the closest Starbucks, coolest music venue or best cheeseburger).
  • Research each college before you visit so you’ll have specific questions to ask. Do you want to know about research opportunities within your major?  Do you know if the major you are considering has higher admission standards than other majors?  Are you interested in themed housing? Do you have questions about financial aid or scholarships?  Know what you want to know more about.
  • Pay attention to the students on campus. Are they happy and friendly?  Do you hear students talking about academics outside of class? Do students all look the same, or do you see a diverse student body? If you are comfortable, approach a group of students and introduce yourself as a prospective student; ask them why they chose their school, what they love and what they wish they could change.
  • Pick up a copy of the campus newspaper. The tour guides share what is new and wonderful, but to really understand what is happening on campus and what current students are concerned about, the campus newspaper gives you the inside scoop.
  • Take good notes and pictures to help you remember the details of your visit. Write down what you learned, liked and what didn’t quite fit before you get to another campus. If this is a school you eventually apply to, you might have to write an essay about your visit and answer “Why this College?” essay questions.
  • Don’t rush back home. Ask campus staff for the best places to eat and visit off-campus. This could be your new home. Have fun!