Campus Visits: Not Your Average Spring Break Road Trip


Juniors beginning the college search, as well as seniors making final decisions, are hitting the road this spring for college visits. Campus tours cost time and money, so carefully planning your visit is key to making the most of a long Presidents’ Day weekend or Spring Break.

Do Your Homework

You may be limited on the number of schools you can visit, so carefully choose where you’ll go. Next, thoroughly research each school before you go. Search College Navigator for important information such as retention and graduation rates, as well as average net price paid to attend and degrees offered. You also don’t want to ask a question on your visit that could have been easily answered on the school’s website. See what students are saying about each school on College Confidential. Keep digging for as much information as you can find.

Schedule a Tour… and More

Often tours and classroom visits must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance. Call the admissions office to book not only your tour, but also to see about sitting in on a class or two related to your major(s) of interest. If you get time before or after class, chat up the professor and try to get a feel for whether the department will be a good four-year fit for you.

When you are on the tour, ask questions of your tour guide and other students you meet along the way. Find out what attracted them to the school and their likes and disappointments along their journey.

Ditch the Beaten Path

When your tour concludes, break away from the group to see more of the campus such as the older buildings, not just the new shiny ones they show you on the tour. Check out the library. You’re a fitness buff? Head on over to the workout facility to see what it has to offer on a blustery day when the last thing you want to do is go for an outdoor run.

Sample the Commodities

Whether you spend just half, or the recommended full day on your visit, be sure to eat on campus. You never know, the quality/convenience of food just might be the tie-breaker between school A and school B on April 30th of your senior year. Additionally, schools will often allow students, particularly seniors, to spend the night on campus giving you a deeper look at what the culture holds for you.

Take a Minute

Shortly after your visit concludes, be sure to reflect and gather your thoughts and impressions about the school. You will be surprised how quickly your memories will fade after the visit, especially after hitting a few more campuses. Journal or create a spreadsheet to rank schools as you go.
Make the most of your college visits so you are equipped to make the best decisions in the future!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This article was written by Lisa Mader

Lisa Mader relies on extensive teaching experience, a master's-level education, and affiliation with some of the industry's most important accreditation boards to help college-bound students maximize their performance and find their best-fit college. Through her company LEAP, Lisa has helped countless families in the areas of test preparation, college selection/application, choosing a major and future career, and much more.

2 Comments

  1. andrunique davis

    I have one problem i would like to visit or to go to college in the u.s.a but i live in the bahamas and i have never took my sats how will that work.

  2. Lisa Mader

    Great question. First, I’d harnass the free resources on the web to do your homework on colleges: http://www.collegeview.com, the school’s website, http://www.collegenavigator.gov, interact on FB. Virtual tours and blogs hosted on the school’s website can provide great information. Attending a Hobson’s Virtual Student Fair as well. See what students have to say about their experience with schools right here on College Confidential. This can seriously help your process without investing in travel to the US.

    Don’t forget to engage the college admission staff from that school. They are happy to answer your questions over email or a phone call.

    Ultimately, to apply and attend a 4-year school, you will likely need to take the ACT and/or SAT. There is still time to register. Either test will be accepted at all schools. There are, however, so test optional schools. Checkout http://www.fairtest.org.

    Good luck on your journey!

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