August 7, 2014

Eight great tips for breaking the ice on a campus visit

According to Peterson’s Guide, visiting a college campus is a vital way to get the “pulse” of a school in which you are interested. 

Petersons suggests that a visiting prospective candidate should “check out the student center and the main dining hall both to see what the facilities are like and to get a sense of the atmosphere. How students interact with one another, the level of noise and laughter, or lack thereof, will be a major clue to the social tone of the campus. Also read some of the bulletin boards dotted around the library or student center or in a dorm to get a sense of life on campus in a typical week. See if there are organized social events, concerts, trips, or speakers of note. “

This is excellent advice, as is most of the article cited above.  However, this is of particular interest:

“Do not hesitate to go up to students and ask them anything on your mind. You should find them friendly and interested in sharing their experience with you. If you get a cold shoulder more than once, perhaps you want to move on to the next college campus you are considering!”

Very good advice, indeed.  But what do you say in order to break the ice? Peterson’s suggests that you might just stand next to somebody at the bulletin board or on line at a café and “tell the students you meet that you are making college visits and you really appreciate their input.” Here are some options, after saying hi and introducing yourself:

  • I just took the campus tour and I really like this school.  My name’s Margie. Do you think you could answer a few questions about your school?
  • What’s good to order here?
  • This is a beautiful campus.  What’s it like in the middle of winter?
  • Is there a Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts nearby?
  • What a bulletin board! How do you decide what to get involved in here?
  • I love your shoes.  Is it easy to get around this campus?
  • Great hat! Can you tell me where the school store is?
  • I hope I’m not interrupting you, but I’m really interested in this school.  Could I ask you a few things?

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