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Leila Lopez Marks on a visit to Emerson College
College application season rapidly approaches, and many seniors are ferociously researching colleges, looking at majors and minors, and doing in-person and virtual college tours. The endless nagging questions about what to include in the college essay and how to apply are foremost in parents and students’ brains.
These were many of the same thoughts and questions I had (and still have) when beginning the college research and application process. However, going to visit campuses before applying greatly helped my application process. When I visited a prospective school's campus, I got a feel for where it is, what the campus is like, and if I liked the student life there. I was apprehensive at first. I thought "why go and visit a college if I may or may not be applying to it?"
However, once I visited two colleges on my list in Boston this past summer, I was convinced that the city and the colleges were a good for me, and I also was able to gain a better appreciation for in-person college visits. Getting to physically be in Boston and live somewhat like a local for a couple of days was exhilarating. I was able to walk everywhere and see the city from a pedestrian’s perspective.
In addition, I had the chance to visit several local restaurants and stores, which gave me a good feeling of what Boston’s social life is like. Of course, being a huge music city, many of the pubs and restaurants had local bands and musicians performing in them.
Another aspect of the trip I found to be very valuable was getting to see the two college campuses up close and in-person. Much like how touring the city made me feel like a local, walking the campus made me feel like a student at the school.
I saw the buildings and got a sense of how a typical day might go and was given the opportunity to talk to a few students at these schools. This was particularly helpful, as it really helped cement what I had learned about the two schools.
As application deadlines approach, many students will likely be feeling confused, rushed, or overwhelmed. It is important to remember that getting to learn about the schools and learning about the application process is key. It has helped me greatly, and hopefully will continue to.