Sometimes the best programme doesn’t mean the right fit. How you feel at the university is just as important as the quality of the programme. The best way to find out if the school of your dreams is, in fact, what you imagine it to be, is to plan a campus visit.
Get a first-hand impression
Websites, brochures and catalogues can only show you so much. A campus visit is your chance to get a first-hand feel of the atmosphere at the school. Walking around the campus can help you get a real impression of what life would be like at the university.
Did you know you can win a free campus visit by participating in an Access MBA event? Sign up here for an online or face-to-face event near you and seize this opportunity.
Meet current students
One of the most valuable experiences of a campus visit is getting to talk to people. This is your chance to meet current students, faculty and admissions officers, and ask questions. Most of them would be willing to openly discuss their experiences and their angle on university life. Make a list of important questions, so you don’t forget anything. Here are some ideas:
- What are the average class size and student-to-faculty ratio?
- What is the food like on campus? Is there a variety of options?
- Is the campus fairly diverse?
- What's the social scene like? What kinds of activities are available?
- What are the housing options? Are there dorms? How high are rents in the area?
After you have gathered the information you need, reflect and ask yourself the question “Do I see myself here?”, “Do I feel comfortable here?”
Get a feel for the university’s culture
Although many MBA programmes might look similar, the culture in every school is different. All programmes offer you a great education, but not all universities are a great fit for your values, beliefs and expectations. This is where the campus visit can help tilt the scales in the right direction.
The right university culture gives you innumerable opportunities for personal growth by responding to a dynamic social and academic environment. On a campus tour, you get to evaluate all the details of the school environment. Do you feel like you belong? How is the communication between students and faculty? What is the teaching style? All these things need to be factored in before your final decision.
A campus visit goes beyond just checking out the school. You can benefit from visiting a university campus by showing what recruiters refer to as “demonstrated interest”. The more actively you contact the school, and the more interest you show, the better your chances of admission.
A study cited by InsideHigherEd found that students who demonstrated interest in a school by making an official visit to campus have an advantage in the admissions process over students who don't make the effort.
A campus visit is undoubtedly a great tool for students to make their final decision but it is also a critical element of the research process. Your education is a long-term commitment that will impact the rest of your life and doing your research thoroughly will help you make the right decision.