You may or may not have read The New York Times’ recent article, “Skipping the College Tour”. As they explain, visiting colleges before applying or committing has become an important step of the application process. However, the article argues that visiting a campus doesn’t help us make a better college decision because it’s difficult to make a current decision for our future selves. Their reasoning is that it’s challenging to make a decision based on imagination, not experience.
This article asks, “So why isn’t there an epidemic of students who find themselves in the wrong place and either transfer or drop out? Maybe there is.” In my path to graduation, this happened the two times I visited a college’s campus.
Inside Higher Ed states, “New data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center show that 37.2 percent of college students transfer at least once within six years.” That’s over a third of students!
I want to publicly share how visiting college campuses has affected my college experiences:
- I visited and applied to one college during high school. I enrolled, but quickly left.
- I didn’t visit the second college I applied to. Again, this was the only school I applied to. However, this time I was happy and stayed until I graduated with my associate’s. (Since it was a two-year college, I had to transfer for my bachelor’s.)
- I visited and researched numerous colleges to transfer to, and I thought I found a perfect fit. Yet, I left after one semester.
- Technically, I visited my current college, but since I’m in the online program (and didn’t attend an online open house), I don’t consider this as having actually visited. I plan to graduate from this program with my bachelor’s next spring.
Based on my experiences, this New York Times’ article rings true because visiting campus appears to “hinder [my] ability to pick a college”. Every time.
It should be noted that even though I didn’t visit the schools I was most happy at, I did research them and knew they offered the program I wanted. I didn’t, however, conduct as thorough research of the schools I enjoyed as I did for the schools I didn’t stay at.
– Sarah C.