Campus visits are a great way to get an up close look at what really goes on at a college. You’ll really benefit from visiting during the school year when the students are active and engaged. Most schools continue to offer opportunities to visit during the summer, but campuses are generally quieter. If you’re not able to travel too far, visit schools close to home. Take online tours for schools you can’t get to. Reach out to your guidance counselor for help making an initial list of schools to visit.
If your family is up to it, a college road trip can be a fun family vacation. Younger siblings love being included and can also benefit from the experience. Look at a calendar and choose some dates. Decide how far you’re willing to travel and whether you plan to stay overnight. If so, you’ll need to book a hotel or arrange to stay with a student on campus. If you don’t know a student who can be your host, many schools will make arrangements for you— contact the admissions office for details. School websites are a good source for travel info on local hotels, restaurants and transportation options. Compare schedules for schools which are near one another— it’s possible to visit more than one school in a day. Be sure to leave time to check out the surrounding neighborhood.
Don’t miss the opportunity to get a full look at all each school has to offer by reviewing the admissions sections of school websites for info session and campus tour schedules. Check if reservations are required, and if so, book online or by calling the admissions office. Once you arrive at admissions, don’t forget to sign in as some schools do take note of an applicant’s demonstrated interest. If you live within a reasonable distance, your visit will speak to your desire to attend.
Think in advance about what you’d like to learn and what you’d like to see and do. Some schools offer special programs where you can arrange in advance to have lunch with a current student. Think about attending a game, a theater production or a concert. Remember to buy tickets ahead of time. If you’d like to sit in on a class, ask the admissions office about arrangements.
Reach out to any current students you know. They can tell you the things an admissions rep won’t cover during the info session. Make plans for them to walk you through the parts of campus not covered on the tour, introduce you to their friends and even visit their sorority or fraternity house. And, for more information check out websites that give you student reviews.
Which type of school do you see yourself in? A campus visit is the ideal way to find out. You’ll also eliminate stress in senior year if you start to narrow down your choices now.