It seems at this point in my college process, I think of the states not by name, but by what colleges I’ve visited. So instead of Ohio, Maryland, Vermont, Massachusettes and California; its Oberlin, Kenyon, Johns Hopkins, Goucher, Middlebury, University of Vermont, Wheaton, Pitzer and Occidental to name only a few.
Each School shows its best self to the masses of hopeful students that might picture themselves in each ivy shaded quad they visit. And each promises the hope of a better four years than the last few each student sat through.
I’ve found that visiting a school gives you insight into it that mere websites and brochures cannot offer. Schools I thought I would love I’ve found myself hating and sometimes vice-versa. I got the chance to see the kind of student I would be interacting with and to interview on campus (hopefully distinguishing myself from the pile of faceless applicants). A tutor or a guidance counselor can only tell you so much, to visit is really to know.
Now as the last few weeks of summer slip away quicker than I thought possible and the applications I’ve been avoiding become a very unavoidable reality, I’m glad I’ve visited close to the way-above-average 25 schools. Because even though I feel like i’m walking blindfolded into a swamp filled with quicksand, the experiences I’ve had at each college I’ve wandered through have given me a little bit of a roadmap.
My advice: Can you visit the school? Then visit.