College visits are an excellent way to narrow down your college list because they offer you a chance to see students interact with each other and professors (and even sit in on classes depending on the school), get a feel for the campus, and see the inside of buildings. You'll want to try to visit different types of colleges (small/large, urban/rural).
When visiting a college, sign up for the free admissions tour and session. Make sure to sign in with your contact information if they pass around a sheet. Try to spend a little bit of extra time on campus, talk to students, eat at the dining hall, look at bulletins for club events, pick up a copy of the school newspaper, etc.
Due to COVID-19, most visits are currently cancelled; however, many schools still have a virtual tour and session, so be sure to sign up. Admissions officers from nearby colleges will also visit (virtually this year) your high school. These sessions are a great way to learn more about the school, build a relationship with the admissions officer, and ask questions in a smaller setting. If you are unable to visit, it is imperative to email and stay in touch with your college admissions officer. Maintaining a good relationship with admissions officers will always benefit you. Asking personalized questions to show your interest is super important!
Emailing the Admissions Representative
After meeting with an admissions officer, be sure to send them an email to thank them and show them how interested you in are the school. Remember, they are the first person to read your application and can determine if it will be passed along. Here is a standard template that allows you to fill in the blanks:
Example Questions for a Campus Tour Guide or Alumni Representative
It is important to ask personalized questions during a college visit, fair, etc. These questions should not be questions that can be answered with a quick google search. Typically, you'll want to ask questions about this person's college experiences or advice in order to show genuine interest.
Why did you choose this college?
What is course registration and advising like? Do you think it's a good system?
What is/was your favorite place on campus? Why?
What do you do in your free time?
Are you in any clubs? What are clubs like at this school?
What is the most difficult part/your least favorite part about this college?
What is your favorite college memory?
Do you feel comfortable approaching your professors and TA's? Do you ask for help from people in your classes?
How would you describe the campus culture? Are students generally pretty close or do people tend to keep to themselves? Is it super competitive?