It’s a wise idea to participate in a campus tour when you visit potential colleges, but be sure to explore your school again after you’re officially enrolled and ready to start classes! Freshmen orientation activities will probably explain the function of different offices or departments, but additional campus tours may or may not be given. If your only campus tour took place when you were still in high school and considering which school you’d even attend, you probably don’t remember the location of various offices – especially if you’re attending a large university or you visited multiple schools.
The following list consists of eight places that you’ll need to visit throughout your college years. The names of these places may vary slightly from school to school, but the short descriptions provided explain the services they offer.
Get ready, because it’s time to break out the map and take your own campus tour!
College counselors and academic advisors provide students with course information, requirements for majors and minors as well as general education requirements, and various eligibility guidelines. If you’re undecided about a major, you may be able to receive assistance from a counselor in that area as well. Some schools require mandatory periodic advising appointments to ensure that students are following the proper track to earning their degree on time. Students typically have an advisor assigned to them, and be sure to check whether the office accepts walk-ins or you need to make an appointment before visiting.
Think of the bursar’s office as the cashier, because it’s where you need to go to pay any student fees or tuition expenses that were not covered by financial aid. You will probably need to get some sort of official paper or receipt each semester to prove that you are paid up and good to go when you show up for classes during the first week of the semester. The bursar’s office is also the place that issues refund checks for any excess financial aid or scholarship money.
You’ve probably got your own computer, but you’ll need to know where to go should yours crash or you simply need to print out a document. I’ve even taken courses with professors that required assignments to be posted to a folder on a public drive on the school’s computer system, which was inaccessible from my own laptop. Most colleges have more than one computer center, so find out where a few of them are located in case they have different operating hours or operating systems (some computer centers have PCs while others may have Macs).
Essentially, the dean of students is responsible for overseeing all student activities. You may need to notify the Dean of Students’ Office if you need to leave campus due to a family emergency, or if you are seriously ill and will be missing classes for more than a day or two. The Dean acts as a liaison between the students and the college’s professors and administrators.
Financial aid officers can assist you in filling out your FAFSA to apply for financial aid, and may be able to work out payment programs for your family to pay for any remaining tuition in installments. You may need to visit the Financial Aid office to sign documents regarding your student loans and other financial paperwork.
When you’re away from home, you won’t be able to visit your regular physician if you get sick at school. Most large schools have health services centers or campus health clinics to assist ill students, and the majority of these health centers also provide mental health counseling and dispense birth control. The costs involved are usually incorporated into your student fees, but check with your school to be sure. Some even accept health insurance. If you’re a non-traditional student that commutes to school, you may need to visit the health center in the case of a minor emergency while you’re on campus.
This one may sound like a no-brainer, but learn where the library is— you’re going to need it more than you even realize, even if it’s only to get away from your annoying roommate while you study!
The registrar is the college official in charge of student academic records. After graduation, the registrar’s office is the place that can verify your degree with employers or potential employers should they decide to check up on you. If you need official copies of your transcript to prove continued eligibility for private scholarships, the registrar’s office is the place to request them.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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