So you’ve begun the process of visiting colleges – that’s awesome! It’s an exciting time full of all kinds of possibilities. We’ve recently discussed how to prep and plan for these visits, but we also think it’s important to communicate what you should be doing after the visit and how to follow up with different schools. Here are a few tips!
The first thing you’ll want to do after leaving a visit is to debrief with your parents or others who were on the visit with you. Talk about you liked, what you didn’t, what surprised you, excited you or made you nervous. Get it all out there so you can begin to think through if this school is a real possibility. It’s very important to capture this information as well. Like in a college choice spreadsheet that you have
Ask for Feedback
During this debriefing time, it’s not a bad idea to ask for feedback from your parents or other support systems that was on the visit. While this is certainly a decision you and you alone have to make, it’s really helpful to have other points of view that may be able to see things that you can’t and to point out a different perspective. Getting thoughts, insights, and feedback from loved ones who want what’s best for you can be a really helpful process.
Make a List
After you’ve thought through, talked through, and debriefed about the visit, it’s time to do a little processing on your own to formulate a pro and con list. We recommend starting a spreadsheet with columns for different important aspects to you and ranking each school you’re looking at. As you’re visiting colleges, you can pull up the spreadsheet afterward and make notes as well. This will help keep all your thoughts in one place and will make the compare and contrast time a bit easier. It’s also important to make a list of questions, ideas that pop up, or other items you might need to do a little more research or follow up on.
Do Further Research
While visiting colleges is really important, that alone will not make your decision and the visit may actually spark more questions that need further research. Using the information gathered during your visit, you should begin doing further research. Learn more about the school and look into some of the questions you may have. This will prove really valuable if you have a question on your application like “Why do you want to attend this university?” By already having visited and having done more research, you’ll be set up to answer this question well.
Follow Up with a Note or Email
Once the visit is over, if you’re still interested in attending that school, it’s important to follow up with staff or administrative representatives that you came into contact with. This is how you can begin to build relationships with admissions counselors, financial aid counselors or other faculty members. It could be a simple thank you email, or better yet, a handwritten note.
Make you stand out from the crowd.
Show demonstrated interest.
Keep you on their radar.
Potentially improve your application review.
The follow-up phase is something that you can really harness to your advantage and increase your odds of being accepted into a given school.
College visits are crucial and having a follow-up plan in place will only grow their value in your college decision journey. Take a little extra time on the back end to comb through and research details and add in a little more effort to follow up and it could pay dividends for you. As always, if you have any questions about anything college planning related, feel free to reach out!