Given all of the hard work and anxiety that high school seniors put into preparing applications for an Ivy League school like Brown University, it’s hard to imagine why anyone enrolled there would ever want to transfer. But that’s exactly what a small number of Brown undergrads do each year.

According to a report in the Brown Daily Herald, about ten undergrads transfer out of Brown every year. In some cases, students transfer to a target school that they were not accepted to as freshmen, most often to Harvard or Stanford. But a number of transfers leave Brown because they realize after spending a few months on campus that they simply do not feel at home with Brown’s social and academic environment.

This is an excellent example of why campus visits are an important part of the school selection process. Pamphlets and websites are good information resources, but you can’t judge how you will feel about a college or university community until you’ve been to the school.

Try to pay a visit to any school you plan to apply to. Although it’s best to visit in the spring or fall, while classes are in session and students are on campus, a summer visit is better than no visit at all. Spend an hour or so on your own, walking around campus without your parents or a tour guide, to get an idea of what it will feel like to be there as a student rather than as a visitor. A brief campus visit can’t tell you exactly how you’ll feel about the school after spending a week or a month there, but it will increase your chances of targeting the schools where you’ll be happy.

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