Once you’ve completed your first group of school visits, you can take a deep breath. From here on, the college exploration process can be a lot of fun. So now that the visit is over, it’s time to process what you saw and heard.

As soon as possible after you visit, take notes about your experience and your impressions of the school. This way you’ll remember your reactions and can use this information later when you decide which schools to apply to. As time passes, your memories can become less distinct, and if you visit numerous schools, your experiences can blur together.  

The small amount of time you take to record this information will make your future decisions better-informed as well as more strategic and efficient; you’ll save loads of time. Your notes and all of the “thinking” you do will help you fill out your applications, particularly when the various schools ask you to write about “Why our college?” and “What is special to you about our university?” By preparing so much ahead of time, you are making the process of the applications easier for yourself, and you are learning so much about yourself.

Evaluating and rating schools will be helpful in whittling down your list to the schools you want to apply to. You don’t want to submit 15 applications because you weren’t able to establish your preferences, or you don’t remember your impressions. Taking notes immediately after your visit will help you to narrow down your choices to a manageable—and appropriate—number of applications.