Visit a College Without Stepping on Campus - COLLEGEdata - Explore Colleges
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Visit a College Without Stepping on Campus

What if money or time prevents you from visiting a college? Or you simply want to find out more? Here's how to check out colleges from afar.

Visiting a college before you decide to apply is always a good idea. But in reality, it's often not possible. Fortunately, you have many avenues for investigating a college without leaving home.

Visit college websites. From links to YouTube channels to dorm photos to the cafeteria menu, every college website is full of information that brings the college to life. Useful sections include college news, academic departments, student life, and of course, admissions and financial aid. See Mining for Gold on College Websites for more tips.

Take virtual tours. Many colleges offer virtual campus tours on their website and via apps you can download to your phone. These can guide you through the campus and provide lots of visuals. They may also include information such as admissions requirements and deadlines.

Look at student newspapers. Most colleges have one or more newspapers written by and for students. You will usually find them on the college's website. These will give you an idea of what students consider important, how they like to have fun, and what sort of informal activities are going on.

Talk to college representatives. Ask your counselor or visit college websites to find out how to contact local admissions reps for colleges you are interested in. They can answer your questions and help you better understand whether you are a good fit to the college. Many reps do presentations at high schools. Don't hesitate to introduce yourself.

Attend college fairs. Colleges also send reps to college fairs to meet students and parents and introduce them to their college. If you prepare your questions in advance, you can find out a great deal about specific colleges in just a few hours. See Why Attend College Fairs? to learn how to have a productive experience.

Welcome college mailings. Want to receive information about a college by mail or e-mail? You can sign up for its mailing list in seconds in the admissions section of the college's website. Every time you receive material, scan it for new information and visuals of the college.

Connect with college students. From YouTube to Twitter to Facebook, college students have many ways to sound off about their college. These comments will give you a feel for what some students think of a college—and what sort of people go there. Also ask friends, teachers, and parents for leads to college students you can talk to in person.

Arrange for local interviews. Contact the college admissions office to find out if you can interview a local alumnus, a current student home on break, or if possible, a college representative. See Get the Most from Your College Interviews.

Be careful with comments from classmates. When your friends offer opinions about colleges or your chances of getting in, your caution lights should start blinking. First, they don't know what will make a college right for you—that's for you to discover. Second, they have yet to experience what it's like to attend any college. So do your own research.

What's Next?

  • Search for colleges using College Match and review their College Profiles. There, you can view their YouTube channels and see a great deal of information that will help you visualize the college, such as size, weather, sports programs, and setting.
  • Check out the colleges highlighted in our True Stories About Getting into College. See how students describe those colleges as they move from freshman year to senior year.
For Students Age 18 and Older

Have you received a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit card?

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1st Financial Bank believes students who pick colleges wisely will also want to learn how to use credit cards wisely.

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COLLEGEdata Dollars are
points you earn by
completing certain
COLLEGEdata activities

Ways to earn
COLLEGEdata Dollars:

  • Complete your Admissions Profile.
  • Add colleges to your College Choices.
  • Update your Admissions Statuses.
  • Use the College Match tool.

What are COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$)?

COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$) are points you earn by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. The maximum number of CD$ you can redeem is 5000. Once you have earned at least 2500 CD$, you can redeem them for $25, which will be provided to you on a Loyalty Card, and once you earn another 2500 CD$, you can redeem those CD$ for a second $25, which will also be provided to you on a Loyalty Card.

Earn points and redeem them for
U.S. Dollars

Complete certain COLLEGEdata activities (for example, signing up, starting your Admissions Profile, searching for colleges, calculating your chances for admission, searching for scholarships, updating your Profile with your admission decisions). Each activity is worth a specific amount of points (CD$). You can redeem the points you earn for U.S. Dollars that will be issued to you in the form of a 1st Financial Bank USA Loyalty Mastercard®.

How do I earn COLLEGEdata Dollars?

You can earn CD$ by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. As soon as you sign up and activate your COLLEGEdata account, explore COLLEGEdata and begin completing COLLEGEdata activities to earn points.

Here is a full list of COLLEGEdata activities for which you may earn CD$ and the number of CD$ you can earn by completing each activity.*

Activity
CD$
×
Congratulations!
+ CD$
You just earned COLLEGEdata Dollars!
Check your CD$ Dashboard at the bottom of the page to view your CD$ balance, find other activities that you can complete to earn CD$, and redeem the CD$ you have earned for U.S. Dollars.