Going away to college will be a new experience! For many of you, you will be moving away from home for the first time. Before choosing the college you will attend, it is important to visit the colleges you are considering to ensure the college is a good fit for you. While colleges do a good job of trying to show students what life is like as a student on their campuses, much is missing on the official college tour. To get the full college experience while visiting colleges, considering spending the night on campus. Spending the night on campus has seven benefits that will help you learn more about the colleges you are considering.
See a real residence hall
Many campus tours only spend a short time in the residence hall. If you get to visit a room on the official tour, you’ll only have a few seconds to check it out before moving on to the next stop. Sometimes you’ll get to see a real room where students live, but there is also the possibility of seeing a “show room.” The show rooms are usually not lived in by students and are only used as a stopping point on the campus tour. Spending the night in the residence hall will allow you to really see the size of the room, the furniture provided, and how real students are living in the room.
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 if you have never had to share a bathroom with more than a few family members. Spending the night on campus will let you experience the bathroom in a college residence hall. Most campus tours happen during the day when students are away from the dorms. Spending the night will let you see the restrooms at the busiest times – at night before bed and in the morning as students are getting ready for class.
Eat college food in the dining hall
Many colleges will allow you to eat on campus when you are visiting. Spending the night on campus will give you the opportunity to 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 admission offices are not offering campus tours. By spending the night on campus, you will have the opportunity to attend student activities and experience some of the extracurricular activities the students at the college enjoy.
Live in the dorm community
The official campus tours will happen during the middle of the day when many students are in classes or doing other things on campus. Spending the night will give you the opportunity to see how lively or quiet the living community is at night. Pay attention to noise levels and the friendliness of the community. The living community will be very important to consider if you will be going away to college far away from home. When you won’t be able to go home every weekend, the people in the residence hall will become your second family.
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 will let you see if the facilities offer everything you need during the evening when you are most likely to use them.
Get an unscripted view of the college
When participating in the official college visit, most people you encounter are trained on what to say to prospective students. The campus tour will usually be very scripted. However, an overnight experience will allow you to see the unscripted side of the college. You will get to meet many current students who are usually very happy to share their thoughts and opinions about the college.
If you were interested in spending the night on campus, contact the admission office as soon as you know you would like to visit. The admission office will typically match you with a current student who lives on campus. You will get to spend the night in the current students room. Sometimes the college will be able to offer you an open bed while other times you will have to sleep on the floor. While it may be a little uncomfortable sleeping on the floor, the benefit of living life like a student at the college will be worth it. The overnight visit will be your best way to experience the college.