We admissions folks are often asked by students if they should visit our campus in the summer. Let’s be honest: visiting when classes are in session is best, but a summer visit is still worth the effort. We have hundreds of summer visitors who walk away knowing Kenyon better. And a summer visit, though different from one in the fall or winter, can still answer some essential questions:
What does the campus look and feel like?
The campus will be less crowded and certainly much greener in the summer, but the campus tour is usually the same as it is at other times of the year. Same with the information session and interviews; they are identical year-round. If visiting with your parents, be sure they take a separate tour if you have time — that way, you can interpret everything you see and hear for yourself, without managing your parents’ questions! And don’t be afraid to roam around a bit, poke your head into buildings you didn’t see on the tour, and visit the bookstore. Who knows? You may even encounter a faculty member open to a quick chat.
What kinds of students attend the college?
Your tour guide and interviewer are just two students you’ll meet, but don’t judge any college based on such a small sample. Many campuses (including Kenyon) have students on campus during the summer who are working, doing research or participating in other activities. (Kenyon, for example, has a Young Writers Workshop, summer seminars for adults and a Playwrights Conference — and students are associated with each of these events.) Grab a bite to eat at Wiggin Street Coffee or a local restaurant and chat up the students you meet there. Don’t be afraid to stop students walking on campus and, after determining that they are open to it, asking them some questions. What do you love about going to school here? What would you change? More often than not, students are delighted you asked.
What is the surrounding area like?
Be sure to visit Gambier and Mount Vernon — drive around and find out what there is to do. While the surrounding area is not as critical as the college itself, it does help you understand the big picture of where you might be spending the next four years. And while you’re in the area, stop by Columbus (just an hour’s drive away) and check out all the city has to offer.
Do I like the vibe of the place?
I know this is a rather “squishy” question, but every college has a “feeling,” and that feeling will be slightly different in the summer. Still, you will pick up on the energy and culture of a learning community — and be able to see if it matches what you’re looking for.
If you attend a special Summer Visit program (Kenyon offers Summer Science Visit Day on June 29 and a general visit program on Aug. 13), you will get to meet a few faculty. You also will rub elbows with other prospective students, which is always illuminating!
And if you walk away from your summer visit more interested in the school than you were before, then return when you can — in the fall or winter or in April after you’re admitted. Your second visit will be different and even more enlightening.
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