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Maximizing your College Visit at UVA

Written by Diya Gupta, University of Virginia, College Contact Counselor

I hope this blog post finds you well and you are not feeling too overwhelmed by your college admissions process so far. I hope that you are taking some time for yourself to decompress and relax, as well as are cognizant of how your hard work is not going unnoticed. It is undeniably a very intense time of year, but know that you are not alone in this process, nor are you unsupported. I want to start off by highlighting that we, at College Contact, are so proud of your hard work and dedication throughout this entire process, and that we are excited to see your hard work pay off.  

Making the most of college campus visits in order to get a feel for college life is extremely vital. It truly is one of the final steps before deciding where you will spend the next four years. It is a great time to ask all of your questions – whether they are as simple as what the food is like in the dining halls, or whether they are as complex as what the diversity looks like at the university itself.

I go to the University of Virginia, a top-3 public school in Charlottesville, Virginia which is known for its dichotomy of rigorous academia and vast social life. There is a healthy mix between thriving on-grounds life and a bustling Downtown closeby. As a part of the University Guide Service, which offers both Historical Tours and Admissions Tours to visitors, I am here to tell you a little bit about what to ask and how to gear your UVA visit to gain the most out of your visit experience. 

Going on a tour at UVA looks different than it does at most universities. At UVA, prospective students and tourists book an admissions tour through the University Guide Service. Here, the Guide Service is volunteer-based, as well as completely student run. There is a selection process, as well as training throughout the course of an entire semester, before us guides are actually able to formally give tours. We are also not affiliated with the admissions office, meaning not only are we completely volunteer and do not get paid, but that everything that is said is an honest and raw understanding of the admissions material and UVA student experience. UVA values different perspectives, research, immersive education, and change; ideals that each guide is passionate about upholding. 

This is something that gave me a lot of clarity and comfort when touring UVA; that I was talking to a student who was speaking to me and answering my questions from the heart, and not what they were simply supposed to say. This is also something that encouraged me to ask questions, as well as ask more about what the overall life at the university was like, and not just what classes and extracurriculars were like. 

To give you clarity on what I mean, as well as inspiration, here are the Top 7 Questions I am asked as University Guide that I recommend every student ask:

  1. What is one thing you knew about ________ University when you started and why? 

  2. How diverse is ________ University and what measures does it take to make its POC students feel connected to this space? 

  3. What measures does ________ University do in order to keep its students safe? 

  4. What does housing look like after Freshman year, and how common is it for students to live off campus? 

  5. How easy is it to find housing? What would you recommend a prospective student do in order to prepare for this potential housing problem? 

  6. What is course selection like? How rigorous are the General Education requirements and is there a core curriculum? 

  7. What are your two favorite things you are involved in on grounds? Can you tell me a little bit about them and if you would recommend them? 

Overall, I want you to really focus on enjoying yourself throughout the course of this college tour. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and really take into account the perspective of current students. And, of course, really consider your happiness above all; is this a place you want to call home for the next four years? 

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