Visiting college campuses is one of the most important things you can do in order to make an informed choice about your school. In some cases, you may visit a campus twice once before you apply and then again after you have been accepted. These campus visits are critical for getting an authentic “feel” and experiencing daily life as a student. I had to audition into California State University, Long Beach dance program, so I spent a weekend in Long Beach touring the campus and the areas around the school and meeting with the current students and faculty of the dance department. Without the information I gathered while on campus, I am almost positive I would have made a different decision regarding my first choice school. Here is a list of five things you should look for and ask about when visiting California State University, Long Beach.
1.) Ask to tour the departments of the major you are interested in declaring.
Not everyone enters their freshmen year knowing what they want to study, but most incoming students have at least a vague idea. It is important that you get an inside view of the classes that are offered in your areas of interest. Maybe you are interested in the kinesiology/sports medicine program; ask to take a tour of the building where these classes are held or sit in on one of the classes if you can.
You will know pretty quickly if the program/curriculum is strong and this is information you want to have before making your final decision. When I was deciding between CSULB and San Diego State University, SDSU’s small department with facilities that left a lot to be desired is ultimately what swayed me from that school.
2.) Check to see if there are any on campus events you want to attend.
If possible, try to time your visit with an event on campus that is relevant to your academic/extracurricular interests. When I visited California State University, Long Beach for the dance audition, I was fortunate enough to be there for the department’s Contemporary Concert, which was an evening of dance works choreographed by some of the students.
Attending this performance was one of the main reasons why I decided Long Beach was the school for me; the concert displayed the department’s level of professionalism and expertise and there was no other first hand experience that could have provided me with this information. If you are interested in sports, attending a basketball game or other sporting event is a similar experience that can help you gauge whether or not you would fit in at the school.
3.) Ask to tour the dorms and the dining hall.
This may seem obvious, but it is really important because it is an opportunity to see students in their daily routines. Living in the dorms is critical for making friends and acclimating to campus life your freshman year, and it is equally important to get a glimpse of where you could be living beforehand. If possible, look at the rooms and try to have a meal in the dining hall and ask yourself “Can I see myself living here?”
If you’re interested in CSULB, check out our article on Five Things You Must Do at California State University, Long Beach
4.) Talk with the students on campus who are not the ones giving the tour.
Because students who work for the university usually lead campus visits, you probably aren’t going to hear anything negative about the school. They are paid to shed positive light on the experience at CSULB, but before you make your final decision, it is important to know the potential pitfalls of the school as well.
Start a casual conversation with someone sitting outside and ask questions along the lines of: “Do GE classes fill up quickly?” Or, “is it hard to get into popular classes or are there enough sections of the course to meet the demands of the students?” and “Is it easy to switch my major and/or try a few different classes out before I declare?”
5.) Take a walk around campus by yourself.
I think this is a simple, yet important action you should take while on a campus visit at California State University, Long Beach. This will give you a chance to experience the “vibe” of the school, without the influence of a tour guide or your parents, who may have their own agendas.
Really take a moment to take in your surroundings, hear conversations, and reflect on how you feel walking around. Since you will ultimately be making the journey to college on your own, it is important to experience the campus in this same way before you make your final decision.
Isabel Rosenstock graduated from California State University, Long Beach in 2012 with a B.F.A. in Dance/Performance. Based in San Francisco, she is working as a freelance dance artist and a figurative model for painters/sculptors. In addition to her work as a dancer/model, Isabel enjoys writing, traveling, and working with children.