How to Turn Your Campus Visit Into a Supplemental Essay

Here are three things to keep in mind for your visit that could make for great details for the “why this college” essay:

Step 1:
Write everything down right after the visit.

Bonus points if you can take notes during the visit. At the very least, share your impressions right away with a close friend or family member who can later help jog your memory. Most students I work with visit colleges well before they start writing the essays and can’t remember their general impressions, let alone the specific details of buildings or major requirements that show you’re paying attention.

Step 2:
Bring this list of questions with you to generate great “why this college” essay material.

-What did you love about the visit? Ex: Meeting the professors, the students, learning about the curriculum, or other defining traits?
-Make sure you visit the department you’re interested in majoring in to find out more about the professors, requirements, interesting classes, and other specifics that could work well.
-What do the students seem like and what excited you about studying with them? Have you, for example, found your people? How so?

 -In general, what stood out to you and made you realize this is your top choice & why?

Step 3:

Go beyond the campus visit.  

-Keep an eye on the look and feel of the campus itself, talk to the students and professors, eat where they eat, and ask yourself where you see yourself fitting in on campus. Be specific in referencing buildings on campus or traditions. (Those references are particularly important to jot down before you forget).

-Here's a trick: Ask everyone you meet who goes there or works there what THEY think makes this college stand out or what they love most about it - that should really help you with this answer.