Visiting a college is like test-driving a car. It helps you to look beyond the outward appearance of a school (the brochures make every school look ideal) to discover whether the campus, its programs, and its personality are right for you. Here’s how to plan a college visit that will give you the information you need.
Figure out what kind of college visit meets my needs.
Are you just beginning to look at schools? Are you trying to narrow down your choices or make a final decision? Once you know the goal of your visit, read the Guide Plan a College Visit to Find My Perfect College, and review the pros and cons of each visit type: open house, group tour, private tour, and specialty event.
Visit the college's website to find information on college visits.
To find dates of college open houses and specialty events, search college websites under "admissions," "prospective students" or "future students." Or, look up the phone number for the admissions office and speak to a counselor about scheduling a tour.
Set a date for my visit.
Spring break of your junior year of high school is a popular time to visit colleges, and many schools plan special events during the early spring for that very reason. Summers and weekends may not give you the best view of college life.
Tip : Try to visit colleges on a weekday when classes are in session to get an accurate feel for what campus life is like. Many high schools give juniors and seniors a certain number of excused absences to make college visits.
Reality Check : It may be easier to have your parents make your college visit plans, but remember, these visits are helping to decide your future, so try and take a leading role in planning them. After all, once you’re in college, mom and dad won’t be handling the planning any more. Get some practice now.
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