Packing for College Visits

Getting the Most Out of Tours

So you’re starting the process of looking for the perfect college for your interests, both academic and social. Nailing down the perfect fit is both scary and exciting, but you’re ready for this approaching time in your life. Although this is a stressful time riddled with hundreds of decisions you have to make, it can be made easier by taking trips to colleges to see which one feels most like home. However, if you are unprepared for a trip, you may feel on edge and constantly worried instead of fully taking the environment of the campus in. So, from my experience, I’ve compiled a list of essentials to take on a trip involving a tour of a potential college.

 

1. A Good Attitude

Colleges are on the lookout for enthusiastic and eager people to become their students. Plus, college is a very exciting opportunity that not everyone is offered, so it is a privilege to even be potentially carrying out. Therefore, approaching your visit as a positive opportunity can help you see a college in a new way that can’t be viewed virtually. Being in a good attitude also allows for all the scary aspects of moving out a lot easier and helps you envision yourself making a new life for yourself in a new city. 

 

2. A Camera

Taking photos can help remind yourself of the emotions you felt on a visit months later. Pictures help capture the views you may potentially have in your everyday, and those views are very important to your eventual college decision. While a school may be the top in the nation, if the setting isn't ideal, your personal experience at college may not be as great as it could be.

 

3. Appropriate Clothes

College visits are about finding a connection to a college. In order to find that connection, you can’t be distracted by other conditions. So, wearing your favorite heels or your most stylish outfit is not a smart choice. By wearing comfortable clothing, you can allow yourself to focus wholly on your experience and the emotions you feel while walking around campus, helping you visualize yourself living and learning in a new atmosphere.

 

4. A Small Bag

Don’t carry a huge purse or backpack on a visit. Taking summer tours is often a hot and sweaty time, so carrying a huge bag can become uncomfortable. Also, tours can be hours long, so over packing a bag can be a dreadful experience that could possibly alter a positive view of a college. Bring only essentials- I personally brought a small neutral color purse with my phone, my wallet, chapstick, and water. Carrying light let me focus on the important aspects of each college. 

 

5. Water, Water, Water!!

Tours are often long walking experiences that take up a lot of energy and are in the sun. This can dehydrate you, leaving you miserable and again skewing your otherwise positive view of a college. I like to carry bottles that are made to keep water cool so you always have a refreshing drink in potentially sweltering heat.

 

The idea of college is one that is simultaneously exciting and frightening. However, visiting potential colleges can help with that anxiety, and help you make a decision easier. So, take the time to visit, research, and pack right for this new chapter in your life. 

- Annie