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By Blaire Moody Rideout
I’ve written about the importance of college visits in the past, and shared thoughts from our students about their favorite parts of Ann Arbor. But, as we settle into college visit ‘season’ I think the topic is worth revisiting.
As you make plans to visit colleges this summer, it’s important to know why you’re taking the time to make the trip and explore campuses in the first place. You want to be sure you’re looking for more than just an impressive building, a big quad area where students gather, or a library that looks like Hogwarts (we have all of those, by the way).
Here are three — and a half — questions you should try to answer during every college visit:
Your ‘fit’ and comfort level with the college or university where you’ll spend at least four years of your life will be incredibly important, and it’s one of the things you can start to get a sense of during an initial campus tour.
Where to look for answers — One way to figure out if a school is a good fit is to understand how students get involved on- and off-campus, and where students go to find their communities. If current students are part of your tour group, or you have a chance to ask some of them questions during your visit, take them up on the opportunity to hear more about how to get involved.
At Ross, these opportunities are built into the first-year experience with events like Meet the Clubs and the mentorship program that is part of the BA 100 course all first-year students are required to take. With more than 55 student clubs for you to explore and use to meet people, and MANY more across U-M as a whole, there is definitely a community for you here.
Visiting campuses is a great opportunity to get a first-hand look at the academic opportunities and resources available to students at different programs and understand the types of opportunities and resources that most appeal to your personal way of learning.
Where to look for answers — You can start to answer the “Will I be challenged” question almost immediately upon stepping foot on campus, just be on the lookout for signs that a school values and invests in the student experience.
At Ross, you’ll see physical manifestations of academic opportunities and resources throughout our buildings, whether it’s our career development suite and interview rooms where you’ll do mock and real interviews with potential employers; our Tozzi electronic trading floor where you’ll manage real assets; the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurship where you can get funding for your business idea; the Winter Garden where you can meet with friends for study groups or to work together on projects; or so many other locations specifically designed to help support your education and propel your development.
Being proud of your college will have a huge impact on your experience overall, creating a positive atmosphere that will allow for you to get the most out of every opportunity.
Where to look for answers — You can look in a few different places to figure out if a school will make you proud. Look at things that matter to you and ask: Does the school act in ways that agree with my values?
Another effective way to evaluate whether current students are proud of their experience is to look at school spirit. A good tip here is if the current students you see on campus are actually wearing t-shirts and sweatshirts that represent their school and not another institution. Strong school spirit is often reflected in the tight-knit nature of the communities you’ll build with fellow students, and in the power the alumni network will have once you’ve graduated.
At Ross and Michigan, the school spirit will be palpable and you’ll encounter an alumni network that sticks together and supports each other. You can’t go to any airport in the world without seeing a Block M and hearing that classic exchange of “Go Blue” from across the terminal.
It is pretty incredible.