Why surf college websites

August 18, 2009

Tips for surfing college websites. Long gone are the days when colleges depended only on the brochures and view books they could fit inside your mailbox. They now devote large chunks of their websites to grabbing your attention. But there's much more to a college website than the Web pages of the admissions office. By surfing as though you're already a student, you can start to picture life on campus. Here are some tips that take you far beyond the home page.

Grab a tray. While some campuses offer only school-run cafeterias, others rent space to private businesses selling everything from pizza to garden burgers. Look for a link to dining services and get a taste of what's available. You might even find this week's menu online.

Check up on student health services. You'll be charged a student health fee when you register for classes, so why not find out what you're paying for? Look for a link on the home page that will take you to the student health services website. You'll learn which medical and counseling services are included and which are not.

Go clubbing. Are you an activist? A bird watcher? A master at the chess board? A future marketing exec? A South Asian female? Often funded by student government, clubs come in all shapes and sizes. Look for links like Student Life to find out if there are campus clubs you'd want to join. Get involved, make friends and enjoy college life.

Browse the school newspaper online. More and more colleges are putting their student-run newspapers online. Although it may take some digging to find them, they're well worth looking for. In everything from hard news to editorial cartoons, you'll get a feel for campus life, student concerns, and the caliber of student thinking and writing.

It is important to find if the college you are thinking of spending the next four years at is going to be a good fit. A bad or wrong fit college, can result in transferring to a different college (which is one reason why students spend 6 years earning a 4 year degree.)

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