When I was a tour guide at Tufts, one very common question I got from prospective students was "What was your a-ha moment?" They wanted to know if I could pinpoint the exact moment that I decided that Tufts was the place I wanted to spend my undergraduate years. For many applicants, their "aha" moment is their campus tour, for others it's visiting a class and for some, it's discovering a department they did not even know existed (like international letters and visual studies or peace and justice studies.) For me, it was when an admissions officer from Tufts visited my high school. While Tufts had been on the top of my list from both the tour and the other research I had done, it wasn't until talking with an admissions officer in the commons at my high school that I knew Tufts was the perfect fit. When he was answering questions and telling me and my fellow classmates about the school, I felt like he was talking directly to me (he definitely wasn't though) and describing the perfect school. Immediately after the visit, I barged into my college counselors office and exclaimed that I was ready to apply early decision. Even if the high school visit is not your aha moment, here are some tips so you have the best visit possible.
DO ask plenty of questions, especially the ones that matter to you! Whether you have been to campus or not, these visits are a great way to find out more about the school from someone who knows it best. Don't be afraid to ask specific, or even weird, questions (trust me, we have heard it all). This is time in your life where you will be making some pretty important decisions, so you deserve to be well informed. If you want to double major in mechanical engineering and music, you should ask if that is possible. (On a selfish note, visits are a lot more fun for admissions officers if the students ask a lot of questions!)
DON'T ask questions that can be googled. Instead of asking "What is the student to Faculty Ratio?", you may be better off asking "What is the type of relationship between student and faculty members?" As admissions officers, we love to have meaningful conversations with students that go beyond the basic facts. If you do research about the school ahead of time, you will have the opportunity to ask admissions officers about specific programs, extra curricular groups or research opportunities.
DO grab a publication (or two, or three). Often times, the publications that the admissions officers bring with them go beyond the basic statistics of the school- they can give you insight to student life on campus, enlighten you about amazing research or even tell you the best place to get pizza around campus (my vote for Pizza at Tufts goes to Pranzi's, by the way). I think that our Jumbo Magazine gives you a great sense of the dynamic student body, vibe and community on campus. Also, having a tangible brochure or magazine to keep with you can come in handy later when you have an answer the question "Why (insert school name here)?"
DON'T be offended if the admissions officer can't stay after and chat. Often times, we are running from one school visit to another or trying to squeeze in a quick starbucks run before we continue with our day. For instance, there is a day where I am trying to squeeze in 6 school visits in one day. We would love to stay and chat if possible, but sometimes our schedules just don't allow us to do so. If you have any questions that haven't been answered, feel free to shoot us an email!