One of the most exciting — and potentially overwhelming — parts of the process that goes into making your college choice is visiting campus.

You might visit just one or two college campuses, or you might check out several more than that. At every campus, it seems, you’ll have people you have never met throwing all sorts of information at you about topics ranging from academics to socializing, athletics to everyday living.

It can be a bit much! Cristy Omans is well-aware of what you’re going through. As the interim associate director of admissions, Cristy helps manage the staff of tour guides who talk to high school and transfer students about attending Alma College. Cristy is also the mother of two children who became Alma students — so, she has been in your parents’ shoes, too!

What do you REALLY need to know before you come to campus? Read on to find out:

Who are you?

Tour guides and admissions counselors are happy to tell you about our excellent athletic facilities, performing and fine arts opportunities, renowned academics and exciting student life. But what they most like to do is answer questions — the more-specific, the better.

So, Cristy suggests, you should take some time to think: “What am I looking to get out of this college experience? What do I like to do? Where do I hope to be when this is over?”

When you have answers to those questions, you can then begin to think: “Can Alma College help me do these things?” And your tour guide and admissions counselor will be there to help — with an answer that is tailor-made to your interests and personality.

Relax and take your time

At Alma College, we want you to find the right fit for you. You can’t rush a decision like that! That’s why we tell our visitors that they should plan at least two hours on campus, for an admissions presentation and a tour of campus. For each additional meeting — with a student success professional, a coach, a faculty member or anyone else — you should budget at least 30 minutes.

That may seem like a long time for a college visit, but it is worth the effort. At the end of your visit, you may have an accurate sense of whether Alma could be your home away from home.

Some emerging college students want to sit in on a class or attend an event or competition to really get a feel for the college experience. Your tour guide can accommodate those options as well — possibly on the same day or during a second visit. Ultimately, we want you to feel confident in your college decision no matter where you choose to go!

P.S. We understand that your time is valuable. That’s why we offer $2,000 scholarships, renewable every year you’re at Alma, just for visiting campus. Check it out!

There are other options

Many students come to visit campus with their parents, guardians or other supporters, and have a great time. That might not be the best option for everyone who wants to see what Alma is all about. That’s why we offer group visits and virtual visits, for those who want to see a different side to Alma.

If you’re interested in planning a visit for your school, church or other group, you can plan a group visit. Examples of group visits include College 101 — where you’ll hear from a panel of students, professors and staff — as well as an Athletics-Focused Visit, Virtual Academic Workshop and Financial Aid.

Cristy says that Alma College is happy to schedule virtual visits, too, for student who don’t live in the state of Michigan or just prefer a virtual visit. Contact the admissions office at or call (800) 321-ALMA to schedule one.