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When Should I Visit Colleges

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When Should I Start Visiting Colleges

Should I Go To College?

When you start thinking about college applications, you should also start thinking about when to start visiting colleges. Visiting a campus in-person or online will give you an idea of what the day-to-day life is like on campus.

A college campus visit is also a good chance to talk to students, professors, coaches, or admissions officers. So, when should you start visiting colleges?

When Should I Start Visiting Colleges?

If you go to visit lots of colleges all at once, it can be hard to fit them all into one trip without feeling rushed. To get an early start, you should start visiting colleges in the spring of your junior year.

Spring of Junior Year

There are some big advantages to visiting colleges in the spring of your junior year. Perhaps the most important one is that you can visit a college long before you decide to apply.

If you visit a college and you dont like the campus, or the town is too quiet, or the city is too busy and polluted for your liking, then you dont have to apply! This can save you some serious time on preparing your college applications. It can also save you some serious money on application and test reporting fees!

Visiting colleges in the spring of your junior year is a great idea if you already have a solid list of schools that you are interested in. This makes it easy to plan a visit based on geographic region . Try to plan for a trip over a long weekend or over a school break.

Carpool with friends on a college visit!

Summer Before Senior Year

Stop By The Admission Office

While youre on your campus visit, why not put a face to your application? Make an appointment to meet with an admission counselor so that they can get to know you as more than a list of test scores and activities. This is your chance to show your personality, and you can even use the time to ask any questions you might still have about the school. Just be sure that youre friendly, polite, and articulate, because a first impression is a lasting one.

Establish Your Budget From The Start

First off, its important to figure out your budget from the start. Determine how much you can afford to pay for campus visits without breaking the bank.

Once you have your budget, you can choose which schools to prioritize and which ones to leave off your list.

If, for example, you can visit five nearby schools for the same cost as one college thats located across the country, it might be more worthwhile to stay local.

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See Beyond The Pretty Pictures

While a viewbook, catalog and website are extremely helpful, they are created from someone elses perspective and dont offer a personal view of the campus. To really get a feel for the school, you need to walk around the campus, visit the residence halls and meet some students in order to see it through your own eyes.

Whens The Worst Time To Tour Schools

College Counseling: What Colleges Should I Visit over Spring Break?

Colleges have a different schedule than do high schools. You can take advantage of your vacation times to visit colleges when classes are in session, but you also should probably plan to avoid college break times.

In addition to winter break, colleges have breaks over Thanksgiving and typically in the second or third week of March . Before the December holidays vacation, they usually have a reading period, a week or two during which students study for finals and then take their exams. Classes wont be in session. Reading periods and exam weeks usually precede the end of the fall semester and end of the spring semester.

Finally, if youre interested in visiting admissions offices, then you should check ahead to make sure this is a possibility. Admissions officers get busy with application review season in March and April, so if youd like to visit at this time and meet with an admissions officer, just make sure they have time to talk with prospective students.

However, you can still gain a lot from walking around campus and checking out the facilities and the surrounding city even if classes arent in session. But if you plan ahead, you can make the most of your visit by visiting during the semester and getting the truest sense of the college in action.

Apart from signing up for the tour, you should also prepare some questions to connect with your tour guide and find out more information about the college.

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College Might Not Actually Make You Smarter

The last con of attending college is that going to one might not actually increase your intelligence.

A 2011 study found that 45% of 2,322 traditional-aged college students studied from 2005 to 2009 made no significant improvement in their critical thinking, reasoning, or writing skills during the first two years of college. After four years, 36% showed no significant gains.

More recent studies have shown similar trends among those with either some college or a degree. Given the cost of attending college, you’d hope that higher education would have a dramatically positive effect on these skills for all studentsbut this might not actually be the case.

Take Pictures And Notes

If you’re comparing several schools, be sure to document your visits. The details may seem distinct at the time of the visit, but by the third or fourth tour, schools will start to blur together in your mind. Don’t write down just facts and figures. Try to record your feelings during the visit, you want to end up at a school that feels like home.

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Spread Your College Visits Out

It is advisable to spread your visits over a few months at least. When you schedule in too many college visits in one trip, the details can all start to run together, leaving you no less decided than before.

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Get The Most Out Of Your College Visits

Should I Go To College?

College visits are probably the most fun part of the college application process. When it comes to researching potential schools, theres no better substitute for figuring out if a campus will feel like home.

If possible, visit every college that you are strongly considering. No website, guidebook, or testimonial will give you a better feel for a school than you’ll get by seeing it for yourself. Many students change their minds after a campus visit. This is obviously preferable to changing your mind after you enroll! Get the most out of your time on campus with our college visit checklist:

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You’ll Be Better Able To Compare Schools

Touring multiple universities can help you compare the schools at the top of your list. Whether you’re applying to several colleges or choosing between acceptances, a visit can make your decision clear.

During your tour, the details you learn let you evaluate each school’s academics, extracurriculars, student life and campus environment. Remember, your college will become your home for the next four years. Finding one that offers the things you need for your contentment is essential for making an informed decision.

Save The Best For Last

You’ll get better at visiting colleges with practice. As you compare schools, you pick up on the aspects you like and the aspects you’re not so fond of. You also figure out the right questions to ask, as well as the best campus spots to gauge student life. For that reason, visit your favorite schools last, so you’ll be in the best position to make comparisons to the others on your list.

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What Time Of Year Is Best

Visiting colleges during the summer is convenient, but it doesnt always give you the best or honest view of the college or university. Its hard to get an accurate picture of how busy the student union becomes and how difficult it can be to walk from one part of the campus to the other between classes. Your student also wont have an accurate feel for how hell interact with faculty when theres a lot of students around.

So when should you schedule your campus visit? The best time during the week is from Monday to Thursday. The campus is busy with students going from class to class or mingling around.

The best season to visit colleges is at the beginning of the fall session. The time various from college to college and includes late-summer to the early of September. Spring time can also be ideal especially for students who plan to participate in athletics or are considering early application deadlines.

Dont go to colleges during mid-term or final examination weeks. Those times are similar to summer, they wont give you an accurate view of the college.

Also, dont visit colleges during:

  • Christmas week
  • Reading periods

The Best Time To Visit A College Is When It Is In Session

Should I Go To College?

While summers are often the best time to visit because students are on vacation, so are the college students. If you visit over the summer, you will miss out on seeing what the students look like, and how comfortable you feel in that culture. Do the students seem artsy and quirky? Do they sport nose rings and green hair? Or do they seem more preppy to you? Often this sense of fit or comfort level is more of a gut feeling. Also being on campus, when the college is in session gives you the opportunity to meet and chat with professors, who can be quite gracious and generous with their time. My favorite time of year to visit is either the Spring or the Fall, when the weather is beautiful and the campuses are at their best. Dont forget though winter may be a challenging time on many campuses.

Director of College CounselingLeysin American School

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Take Notes On Your Impressions

If you make college campus visits, be sure to record your impressions of each school through notes and photos. College visits are a lot to take in, especially if youre visiting multiple schools in a short period of time.

Your college visits might feel like a whirlwind as youre doing them, but once youre back home, your notes and photos can help you sort through your impressions and choose your favorite schools.

You Can Start Your Sophomore Year

If you have any colleges nearby, scheduling at least a couple of visits during your sophomore year is a good idea. Better still, if you can visit while classes are in session. Attending a class can boost your academic motivation and spur you on to study harder and get good grades so you can make your college dreams come true.

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Best Time To Visit A College

What is the most wonderful time of the year to visit colleges? Visiting a college campus is one of the most exciting steps in choosing a college. If possible, its best to visit colleges before your applications are due. That way, you can be confident youd be happy at any of the colleges youre applying to.

Go when school is in session and not during final exam time. So try to avoid the college campuses winter, spring and summer breaks and the weeks leading up to those dates. Most colleges and universities are open year-round for visits and campus tours. But the time of year you visit will impact what you see.

There are two different reasons for visiting the college and university. The first is the students need to get an idea of what life would be like on that campus. And second is- before you decide when to visit a college campus, remember why youre going.

Wed love to help you plan your college visits. If youre wondering when you should begin the college visits, check out our given methodology that created for you. See below, what visiting campus is generally like during winter, spring, summer, and fall?

Whenever you choose to go, enjoy the trip!

When To Visit: The College Tour Circuit

Should I Go To College?
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Before you decide when to visit a college campus, remember why you’re going: To see it in person and evaluate it as a possible environment for a four-year academic and social experience. But does that mean going when fall colors are at their peak, summer breezes are blowing or snow is drifting around Old Main? When classes are in session or when campus is quiet?

Colleges and universities have created all kinds of visit programs for prospective families, from the standard campus tour and information session to overnight visits where high schoolers can stay with a current student. Some ask that you register beforehand, others let you drop in whenever they have admission office hours scheduled. Always check with each institution to see what they expect you to do before stepping onto campus. Ultimately, though, it’s up to you to decide when you’re ready to see quads, cupolas, commons and classrooms. Here are some visit seasons–considering primarily traditional four-year institutions–with their pros and cons.

Spring Break

For high schools, March usually means a week of spring break. Many families of high school juniors see this period as a good time to visit campuses, but I consider it the most problematic.


Fall Break or Weekends

Other Times

Whenever you choose to go, enjoy the trip!

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College Visit Dos And Donts

Research the school before you visit.Not only will this help you pinpoint questions to ask, but will also show that youre sincerely interested.

Introduce yourself to an admissions officer.Do this even if you dont have a meeting as it will help them to put a face with the name when your application arrives.

Send a thank you note.After your visit, send a brief note to anyone you met with or spent time with.

Turn off your smartphone.At the very least, put it on mute or vibrate to avoid any embarrassing alerts during meetings.

Forget to arrange a visit.You could end up being there on a day that tours and/or information sessions arent scheduled.

Neglect to build in time to explore campus on your own.Campus tours typically stick to general areas of campus to accommodate groups, but youll likely want to go see areas of the school that correspond to your specific interests.

Wear out your welcome.Its fine to ask a few questions and chat with faculty and staff, but remember that they have places to be.

Ask generic questions.Not only can you find this information easily, but it wont be impressive to any campus representatives you meet.

How Do You Schedule College Visits

You can typically schedule a college visit on the colleges admissions website. There, you can find information on campus tours, information sessions and other events for prospective students. If youre having trouble finding what you need, you can also give the admissions office a call.

Some high schools also organize group tours to college campuses. Check with your school counselor to find out about any opportunities to visit colleges with your peers.

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When Should You Start Visiting Colleges

Visiting colleges is a really important piece of your college journey. You want to get a true feel for the schools personality, and stepping foot on campus will help you do just that. There is no hard and fast answer as to when you should start visiting colleges. You can start as early as your freshman year of high school and continue visits into your senior year. Because junior year is such a busy year, we recommend that if you havent already started, that you begin visiting colleges at the end of sophomore year or the summer before junior year.

How Many Colleges Should I Visit Before Applying

What College Should I Go To Test?

Visiting colleges on your wish list is an essential part of the application process. Simply researching colleges online or on paper isnt sufficient. Picking a college sight unseen can spell disappointment and cause you to transfer. Theres no better way to determine whether a college campus is right for you than by actually visiting it.

If youre wondering how many to visit, theres no magic number. Visiting only one is likely too few, yet traveling to 10 or more could be too expensive. Its typically recommended that high school students visit at least their first and second choice universities. Schedule campus visits for every college youre strongly considering. Doing so will help you determine which college communities check off your must-haves.

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Reason #: To Learn About The School From Firsthand Sources

If your searches for school info have led down dead ends, then you know that admissions websites dont always have the answers to all your questions. Tour guides will be there to answer any outstanding questions, plus theyll teach you fun facts and history that give you a deeper insight into the college.

Most tour guides are current students who are big fans of the college. Since theyre students, they can give you firsthand knowledge of the student experience. In addition to getting your own questions answered, you can learn from the questions asked by others in the tour group.

Some tours involve an hour or so walk around campus. Others, though, involve a much more involved itinerary. You might be able to sit in on a lecture, meet with admissions officers or a professor, or even arrange to stay overnight in a dorm. That way, youll get tons of personalized guidance and stories from all different perspectives: faculty, administration, and perhaps most importantly, current students.

All of this can serve to fuel your excitement and enthusiasm about a school, which may empower you to produce an even stronger application. On the flip side, it may save you a lot of effort and an application fee if you discover, in the end, that the schools not for you. Either way, clarifying your desires and reasons to attend is key before you apply.

Spark some ideas for any supplemental essays.

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