Weekly College Column

Making the most of the second/final visit

Free Person Marking Check on Opened Book Stock PhotoIt’s coming down to the wire for seniors to make their final decisions. Many families are investing in first or second visits to help the student seal the deal. Here are some valuable things to consider when you’re making those final visits:


  1. Campus Culture: Students should get a feel for the social atmosphere and whether they can see themselves fitting in. Observing interactions among students and participating in campus events can provide insight into the campus culture.
  2. Housing and Dining: Checking out the dormitories and dining options can help students determine if they’d be comfortable living on campus. Spending a night in a dorm, if possible, can provide a firsthand experience of campus living.
  3. Surrounding Area: Exploring the area surrounding the campus can be important, especially if students plan on engaging with the local community or require certain amenities.
  4. Talking to Current Students: Conversing with current students about their experiences can offer valuable insights that aren’t always highlighted in brochures or tours.
  5. Getting involved.  Remember actual class time is typically less than 10 hours each week. This leaves a lot of free time for students to explore their interests.
    • Which clubs and organizations do you see yourself being part of?
    • What kinds of opportunities are unique to each campus?
  6. Can I see myself here? 
    • Do I feel the vibe?
    • Does the campus culture politically align with my beliefs?
    • Do I feel comfortable academically? Can I see myself thriving in my classes?
    • Will my needs be met by the available resources and support options?
  7. Food is a critical need. Evaluate the food options, dining plan varieties, and even the quality of the food. Yes, this means you should experience at least one meal in a dining hall.


  1. .Academic Environment: Attending a class or meeting with professors in their intended major can help students assess the academic rigor and teaching style. It’s also valuable to inquire about research opportunities, mentorship programs, and other academic resources.
  2. Facilities and Resources: Exploring libraries, laboratories, recreation centers, and other facilities can give students a sense of the resources available. It’s important to check if these facilities meet their academic and extracurricular interests.
  3. Student Support Services: Understanding what support services are available is crucial. This includes career services, counseling, health services, and academic advising. Students should feel confident that they will receive the support they need.


  1. Financial Fit: If financial considerations are important, it might be helpful to meet with a financial aid officer to understand the total cost of attendance and available scholarships or financial aid packages

Priority List of your needs. Make a list of the most important factors that represent your strongest needs and wants.

    • Rate each school on a 1-5 scale, measuring the school’s ability to meet your desires (needs/wants).

These components can greatly influence a student’s college experience and should be thoroughly considered during their final visit to make an informed decision.

Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte. Send questions to: lee@bierercollegeconsulting.comwww.bierercollegeconsulting.com

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