The Washington Post

Admissions 101: What are you getting out of the last-chance April college visits?

Virginia Tech. campus, in front of Williams Hall in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Jim Stroup/Virginia Tech)

What should they focus on? The cafeteria food? The weather? The parties? The availability of beverages? The fashion choices of the undergraduate student body?

I have said in the past that this is a good time for investigating the academics. Go talk to a professor or two in the departments that may become your major. Audit a lecture. Talk to some students taking that major and see how it works.

You might even want to read carefully the course catalog to make sure that college has all of the courses you want. I am still not sure why I did not investigate more carefully the foreign language offerings of my freshman year college. I wanted to take Chinese but they didn't have it. Try to make sure that does not happen to you, or someone you love.

Anyway, let us know what you think. Let me also make a case for less scholarly impressions. I see nothing wrong with soaking up the ambiance of the campus and going with the place that makes you feel best. That is the way we pick houses and spouses, so why not colleges? Just a thought.

Jay Mathews is an education columnist and blogger for the Washington Post, his employer for 40 years.

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