For U-M students, a visit is where it all begins
March 29, 2016
Dustin Castro

You wouldn’t buy a new pair of shoes without trying them on. And you wouldn’t download an entire album without first listening to a song or two.

That’s why it’s essential that for one of the most important decisions of your life – where to attend college – you try it before you buy it.

At the University of Michigan, there is no better way to do so than by spending a day or two visiting campus and the surrounding community.

My first few trips to the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor were eye-opening and exciting. Not only was everyone I met welcoming, but there was a seemingly endless variety of opportunities for students to try new things, from ballroom dancing to sky-diving, political leadership to a Baja racing team.

When I work with prospective students today as a senior recruitment coordinator, I recommend a few things to do during a visit to campus that help them make a final decision, including:

  • Schedule a guided tour and ask a ton of questions. Undergraduate students lead the tours and are brimming with knowledge and personal experiences. If you have a question about a particular residence hall, ask. If you wonder what it’s like to be in Ann Arbor on a Saturday night, ask. If you’re curious about their freshman-year roommate experience, ask. Our guides are a great resource, and if you’re worried that your question is a bit off-the-wall, don’t be. They’ve heard it all.
  • Before arriving on campus, make a plan to explore some campus attractions on your own. The university has a number of excellent museums, including the U-M Museum of Art and the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.  On a nice day, nothing beats a stroll through the beautiful Nichols Arboretum or Matthaei Botanical Gardens. You can also peruse the university’s Events Calendar to find all that’s happening on any given day, much of which is free.
  • Leave some free time to see Ann Arbor. One of the first things that struck me about Ann Arbor was the quality and diversity of the restaurant scene. I’ve visited places all over the world, and Ann Arbor has some of the best food I’ve ever had. Exploring the city and surrounding area will give you a good sense of the cultural and recreational opportunities that are available and whether Ann Arbor would be a good place to live for the next four years. 

As you can probably guess, the University of Michigan made a strong impression on me during those first few visits many years ago. U-M soon became my new home, just as it has for thousands of others drawn to the school’s commitment to excellence and rich cultural tradition.

So, this spring, make sure you swing by. Say hello. Give the university a try. Chances are you’ll fall in love just like I did.

Dustin Castro

is a senior recruitment coordinator in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions