A prospective student is a person who is considering attending a particular college or university but has not yet officially enrolled. Prospective students may take part in activities, such as open houses or campus tours, before deciding to enroll or not at the school. Prospective students also can be visitors from abroad who are considering studying in the country they are visiting. In this case, they must apply for a student visa.
International Prospective Students
If you are in the United States on a visitor visa and later decide to stay for full-time studies, change your status to a student visa during your visit. While you can enroll part-time, which is 18 hours or less of class time a week, on a visitor visa, you will need a student visa to enroll full-time. It is recommended that you apply to various schools and enroll part-time before applying for a student visa. This can be used as proof to show that you are serious about pursuing studies and therefore increase the chances of your application being approved. If you know that you may be interested in pursuing full-time studies before your visit, you can request a "prospective student" endorsement on your visitor visa. This further increases chances for your student visa application to be approved if you decide to apply for one.
What Prospective Students Can Do
Post-secondary institutions, such as trade schools, colleges and universities often have a department dedicated to prospective students. Through this, prospective students can set up meetings with faculty members, schedule a campus tour, find instructions about how to register for classes, scholarship information and more. For example, Rider University offers the opportunity for prospective students, such as high school seniors, to be a student for a day. Students can tour the campus, meet with professors in their area of interest and socialize with current Rider students.