College visits may be exciting, terrifying, or stressful. But, no matter how you feel about them, they are the best opportunity to determine how well a potential college works for you.
During a visit you can meet an Admission counselor; meet with the Office of Disability Services and Office of Residence Life; tour the campus; and sit in on a class. Use this opportunity to ask what a school can provide for you: academics, extracurricular, social, and accommodations.
The information you learn during a college visit can play a big role later in your senior year when you’re trying to pick the best offer from a college.
You’ve selected a short (or not so short) list of your top colleges. Now, it’s time to plan college visits. Check the Resources section for some tools to help you prepare for your visit.
Your college visit is the best time to determine what accommodations a college can provide and experience the classroom environment to get a better sense of what accommodations you may need. When scheduling your visit, you should plan to:
- Meet with an Admissions counselor
- Meet with the Office of Disability Services
- Meet with the Office Residence Life
- Tour the campus (official tour and self-guided)
- Sit in on a class
Make a list of the colleges you are visiting and which colleges are able to provide the meetings you requested for your visit – you can add notes during your visit for easy comparison later.
Some schools may not allow potential students to visit classes until after they’ve received an admissions offer, but as a student with cochlear implants, you should make sure you speak with the Office of Disability Services, even if you think you may not need accommodations.
Develop a list of questions for your visit to ensure you get answers about things that are most important to you. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
On the day of your college visit, you should:
- Take notes so you can compare colleges
- Use your Office of Disability Services Meeting Handout during your meetings
- Take pictures
- Ask yourself if there is anything that may be challenging for you (i.e. large lecture halls) and what accommodations you might need
- Talk to students around campus
During your visit, try to explore areas where you think you will want to spend a lot of time to get a sense of how comfortable you feel at the college. Be honest with yourself about what you want and need at a college.
Deciding whether to disclose to a potential school that you use cochlear implants may be a difficult decision for you, especially if you don’t use any or many accommodations in high school.
It is easier to disclose that you use cochlear implants, provide documentation to receive accommodations, and determine what accommodations the college can provide and not use them, than it is to go to the Office of Disability Services part way through the semester to try to get accommodation once you’re struggling.
Once you pick a college, you can determine to what extent you want to disclose your hearing loss to others.