As you are researching potential colleges and trying to evaluate which ones are the best fit, you will want to get as much firsthand information as possible. Admissions officers spend a lot of time on the road in the fall, so if you are lucky, you might get to meet them in your own city. If not, there are many different ways to connect with admissions officers, current students, and alumni to learn more about the schools you are considering.
1) Attend a college fair in your neighborhood. This is the best way to learn about multiple schools in one place. You will get the chance to talk to admissions officers, gather brochures and other helpful information about what is happening on campus, and even pick up some fun college swag. Check to see what is scheduled nearby. In Columbus, the Columbus Suburban College Fair is scheduled for October 13, 2019.
2) Schedule a campus visit. The best way to get a feel for a campus is to visit in person. Make sure to make a separate list of questions for the admissions officers, other staff (career services), and students. On any school's undergraduate admissions website, you will easily be able to find the link to either "explore" or "visit campus."
3) Attend a college tour. Sometimes schools partner together to offer students the opportunity to meet with them and get more comprehensive information than you would at a traditional table fair. A group of elite schools offers the Coast-to-Coast Tour, for example. If you are interested in a tour like this and it is not coming to a city near you, you can plan to visit a campus in a nearby city around the same time as the event.
4) Visit colleges from the comfort of your own home! Amazing virtual tours exist for most colleges and give you the chance to see more campuses than you can likely afford to do in person. Check out YouVisit or CampusReel (create a free account).
Be prepared: If you are visiting in person or meeting one-on-one with a school representative, you will want to be prepared with the appropriate questions to ask. These will likely vary depending on your stage of the process - if you are deciding whether to apply vs. evaluating whether to accept your offer of admission, for example.