A great way for students to really experience a college is to spend the night on campus. Many admissions offices offer overnight experiences in the residence halls as part of their campus visit programs. All students, especially those who are planning to live on campus, should take advantage of this opportunity. An overnight stay can really show a prospective student what it will be like to be a member of the campus community.
If prospective students are interested in spending the night on campus, students should contact the admissions office as soon as they know when they would like to visit. The admissions office will typically match a prospective student with a current student who lives on campus. The visitor will get to spend the night in the current student’s dorm room, sometimes using an open bed and other times on the floor. While it may be a little unconformable spending the night on the floor, the benefit of living life like a student is worth it. The overnight visit is one of the best ways to “test-drive” colleges.
There are many benefits to spending the night on campus as a prospective student. Here are seven benefits prospective students should consider as they are trying to decide if they will spend the night on campus:
- See a real dorm room. Many campus tours only spend a sport time in the residence halls. Tours will typically show visitors a room, but visitors usually only have a few seconds to take it all in before they have to move on to the next stop on the tour In addition, many tours will show prospective students a “show room.” The rooms are usually not lived in by students, but only used as a stopping point on a campus tour. Spending the night in the residence halls will allow students to really see the size of the room, the furniture provided, and how real students are living in the rooms.
- See the bathroom experience. The restrooms are not always a place a tour guide will stop on a campus tour. However, the bathroom is a big deal, especially for students who have never had to share a bathroom with more than a few family members. Spending the night on campus will let students experience the bathroom facilities. Most campus tours happen during the day when students are away from the dorms. Spending the night will allow students to see the restrooms at their busiest times – at night before bed and in the morning as a students are getting ready for class.
- Eat college food in the dining hall. Many colleges will allow students to eat on campus when they are visiting the college. Spending the night on campus will give students the opportunity eat the food at meals that are not always experienced by prospective students – dinner and breakfast.
- Attend student activities or sporting events. Many student activities happen in the evening when the admissions offices are not offering campus tours. By spending the night on campus with a current student, prospective students can attend student activities and experience some of the extracurricular activities the students at the college enjoy.
- Live in the dorm community. Campus tours usually happen during the middle of the day when students are away from the residence halls. Spending the night will give prospective students the opportunity see how lively or quiet the living community is at night. Students should pay attention to noise levels and the friendliness of the community.
- See the facilities at night. Many campus facilities, such as the library and the fitness center, are places on campus that are used the most in the evening. Spending the night on campus allow prospective students to see if the facilities offer everything they need during the evening when they are most likely to use them if they choose to attend the college.
- Unscripted view of the college. The current students who lead the campus tours are usually trained and sometimes employed by the admissions office. The campus tour is usually very scripted. However, an overnight experience will allow prospective students to see the unscripted side of the college. Prospective students will get to meet current students who are usually very happy to share their thoughts and opinions about the college.
When choosing a college, prospective students should do everything they can to make sure the college is the right fit for them. Spending the night on campus is the best way for students to live the life of a student at the college they are visiting. The overnight visit will answer many of the questions prospective students will have while considering a college and they will usually come home knowing if the college is a good fit or not.