Participating in college visits is an important part of the college search process. It gives you a feel of the layout of the campus and can provide you with valuable insight from the tour guide on what the campus is like. Most importantly, you can see if it feels right to you or not. Often, students can tell from a campus visit if they can see themselves at the college or not.
In some cases, when looking at colleges across the country, it can be more difficult to visit those colleges. If setting up a visit is not feasible, look online at the college's website to see if there is a virtual tour you can take. While it isn't the same, it is a good alternative.
Another problem students run into is that they do not know what to bring with or what questions to ask. Check out the "College Visit Checklist," a useful guide for visiting colleges. It has reminders of things to bring with, what to do when you are on a college visit, questions to ask your tour guide or admissions advisor and things to reflect on when you have finished the visit. While you probably won't get through the entire list, it can give you an idea of the college from participating in some of the activities.
When to start College Visits
Students should begin going on college visits during their Junior year, typically during the Spring. Students should visit colleges throughout the Spring of their Junior year and into Summer. Try to have all visits completed by Senior year as it gets busy during the Fall.
Setting up a College Visit
To set up a college visit, visit the college's website for the number or you may even be able to schedule it online. Some colleges only offer tours on certain days and time slots and may be a group visit. Other colleges will schedule a tour whenever you are available.
In order to go on a college visit during a school day and have it be an excused absence, make sure a parent/guardian calls into the attendance office to notify the school of your absence.
Other great days to go on college visits are on Inservice days (days when staff have to be at school but students do not) or during school breaks (Spring Break, Easter Break).