Five Tips to Ensure You Have a Successful Visit to Campus:
There is no better way to gauge the fit and feel of a boarding school campus than to go see it for yourself! Many schools spend plenty of time and money making sure their websites, view books, and social media channels showcase all aspects of their communities. While they offer a great glimpse into life at the school (we think we do a pretty a good job!), they cannot fully replicate the experience of a visit to campus.
So how do you get the most out of your time on a campus? Read on to make sure your visit is the best it can be:
Be On Time:
It sounds simple, but it goes a long way towards ensuring an enjoyable campus visit! Appointment times often mirror a school’s daily schedule, so tour guides might only be available during their free period. Send a confirmation email to the Admission Office a day or two before your visit to make sure the date and time are correct. In that same email, be sure to ask the Admission Office about campus entrances and directions to the office once on campus - you don't want to be late because you can't find the building! (Bonus Advice: Be sure you are dressed appropriately for your visit. Ask the Admission Office before hand or check the website for student dress code and match that - it's what we do here at The Hill). And if you end up running late – don’t worry, we understand. However, we would appreciate if you could call ahead with an updated time of arrival so we can start planning any changes that need to be made.
Handshakes and First Impressions:
You’ve heard it a million times, but it’s true: you only get one chance to make a first impression. When you arrive at the Admission Office, remember to shake hands, make eye contact, and don’t be afraid to smile! And remember, the people who work in the Admission Office are doing the same thing – we want you and your family to feel comfortable and welcome.
The Campus Tour:
We could probably dedicate an entire blog just to campus tours, but for now, here is some advice to keep in mind as you head onto campus:
- Engage your tour guide. Here at The Hill - and at most schools - you will tour campus with a current student. They have lots of information to share with you, but the more questions you and your family can ask, the more you’ll learn about the student experience at the school.
- Pay attention to the other students, faculty, and staff that you see while you are walking around. Do they seem happy? Do they say hello? Are the classroom environments active and engaged? What is the ‘feel’ of the campus, in general?
- Take a good look around campus. Is the campus in good condition? Is it clean and well maintained? Are the buildings updated and in good repair? Is there construction ongoing or planned?
Coaches and Program Leaders:
For the most part, a campus visit will include time spent with a tour guide as well as a representative from the Admission Office. But why stop there? If you have a particular passion or talent that is important to you and will play a part in how you evaluate schools, then you should ask to meet with a representative from that program or team while you are on campus. This is not an imposition in anyway, especially if it helps the Admission Office tailor your visit to you! If the coach/program leader happens to be busy or away from campus, you can still ask for their email address (or look it up on the website) to make contact and learn more about them and their program. Here at The Hill, you'll often find prospective students in the Meigs House talking with Mr. Baum about ice hockey or Mrs. Neiswender about the Orchestra or Jazz Ensemble.
Stay in Touch:
It is a good habit to send thank you notes (emails are fine!) after your visits. You can reach out to tour guides, admission representatives, program leaders/coaches - just about anyone who may have helped you and your family learn more about the school. But beyond that, staying in touch with a school not only conveys how much you enjoyed the visit, but also how excited you are at the opportunity to join the community in the future. It will also encourage the school to stay in touch with you over the coming months so that you can continue learning more as you decide where you would like to apply!
I love Hill because of its close-knit, supportive community. I can truly say that I feel at home here. We all want each other to succeed and grow, not just in the classroom but in the world in general. I couldn’t imagine myself going to school, let alone living anywhere else."Sasjha '21| Los Angeles, Calif.