College visits become inevitable at some point or another. If you plan on going, you're going to have to embark on them no matter the distance. My mother's philosophy is the sooner, the better. My first college visit was in sophomore year, and many others have followed this year. I've been on this college journey ever since, taking the SAT, feeling the emotional ups-and-downs and
The actual college visit, however, is the real icing on the cake. It shows true commitment and it often takes the most. Most of the colleges that I'm looking at are quite the distance from where I live. Although they are all within driving distance, it still takes multiple hours to get there. Sometimes, it can be more efficient to visit multiple colleges in a row on a college road trip (which I have done) in one week or a few days, usually on a day off or a break.
It also tells the most about the actual college. Statistics and pretty pictures don't explain the full story about a college. It doesn't say what the people will be like or the food or the ambience. It's just not enough. The only way to know the truth about a college is to actually visit that college.
Some people believe this should be done only after an acceptance. However, it does pay to show interest ahead of time. With all of the colleges I'm interested in, it means I have a lot of work to do.
Luckily, I've already seen most of them. This week, my mom and I have been finishing up our search.
Unfortunately, the students were on Spring Break. There were still tours going on (done by the college students who also happened to live in the town nearby), but the college was vacant. Also, this meant that none of the dining halls were open, so I didn't get the real food experience. But I got to see the buildings, all of them (not just the super-nice ones they show on the brochures). I also got to see the town nearby, so I got to see what was and wasn't off-campus. I could definitely see myself going to college there, although its exclusivity and price will make that difficult. Still, it's worth a shot and it was fun to visit.
I do admit that it gets tiresome after a while. After a certain period of time, a lot of the colleges really do start to blend together. Same cramped doors, same bragging admissions officers, same eager sorts of people. Sometimes, even the buildings start to look the same. All colleges are different in their own way, though, and that's what's most important.
Oh well. It's just a part of the package, I'm afraid.