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College visits offer insight into application decisions

By Issac Ang Apr. 7, 2022

Bertina Fan Photo

Just before application season, college visits are a popular activity for many juniors and seniors. Over February break, students like Juniors Brian Jackson and Michael Que took the opportunity to visit prospective campuses, where they previewed the general college experience and determined their compatibility with certain schools.

Que visited several colleges on the east coast such as Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania. From the trip, Que learned about the culture that each school provided, as well as how closely each school aligned with his career interests.

“To maximize my learning, I made sure to interact as much as possible with campus society. For example, I used the course catalog to find interesting lectures that I could spectate and found students to interview while walking around campus. In general, teachers and students were very open to sharing their experiences and helping me learn about the school. Overall, the trip was beneficial in determining which colleges best fit my interests,” Que said.

With residence in mind, Jackson scanned each college’s local areas for activities that were conducive to his way of living. He visited the University of Southern California (USC), University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), UC Irvine (UCI) and Chapman University.

“During my visits, I wanted to make sure that I could enjoy myself in the city. I went to nearby shopping centers, since that would be where students obtain necessities for living. Since I am a huge fan of nature, I scanned for natural abundance on and off-campus. In the end, I think I will focus on UCLA and UCI due to their proximity to nature,” Jackson said.

A 2017 report from the Higher Education Research Institute corroborates Jackson and Que’s perspective on the importance of college visits: Nearly half of the students surveyed believed that college visits were “very important” in their application decisions. Additionally, College Board highlights that sitting in dorms, talking to current students, eating cafeteria food and seeing the buildings help students imagine themselves living at that college. Therefore, due to the wide selection of activities, courses and cultures that colleges provide, performing prior research can help students choose the place where they want to dedicate four years of their lives to.

The school also offers several resources to assist students in choosing and applying to colleges: The school’s academic counselors provide information on colleges and the school regularly invites undergraduates to talk about their college experience. This year, the school recruited Destination College Advising Corps member Tia Nguyen, a recent graduate from UC Berkeley, who provides seniors with valuable information on UC and California State University applications. Additionally, to help students plan for their future, the school offers an online tool called Naviance, which crafts potential career paths, colleges and majors based on questionnaires about students’ strengths, weaknesses and interests. To obtain more individualized support on college applications, some students also hire professional counselors.

Supplementing new dimensions to students’ views of colleges, college visits offer insight into application decisions. From sitting in lecture halls to conversing with students, the experience enables students to envision themselves as a future college student.


About the Contributors

Issac Ang

Staff Writer

Isaac Ang is a junior at Leland High School and staff writer for the Charger Account. During his free time, he enjoys reading, playing ping pong, and experiencing nature. He is an avid rock climber. His academic interests include math, science, and coding.

Bertina Fan


Bertina Fan is a junior at Leland High School and is a staff writer for the Charger Account. She likes photography, cats, and playing games.

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