Traveling this Spring Break? Staying in the area? Whatever you choose to do, this may be the perfect time to visit a college either locally or on your travels.

Hello! This is your college counselor, Ms. Ferrari speaking, and I have exciting news for you all! March Break is a perfect time for you to take advantage of college visits and schedule tours and since school is in session, campus will be abuzz with activity. College visits can open your eyes to new and exciting opportunities, help you get to know a school, and potentially improve your chances of getting into that college. This post will help you know what to do to plan ahead, what to know before you go, once you arrive, making your lists and what to do if you can’t visit.

Plan ahead: Look into the type of visit you’re going on; is it a drive-by visit where you’re only seeing the campus from afar, or is it a day or overnight visit? How many schools will you consider visiting; are you seeing multiple schools in the same area or getting a more in-depth view of a couple schools?

Know before you go!: Some important things to know before you get to your destination are to have your directions handy, where to park and to let the admissions office know you’re visiting. Make sure to check the school websites to get a better idea of what the visit will look like and if there are certain dates they hold visits, if you need to sign up ahead of time, etc. Make sure to check the weather forecast before you go, wear comfortable shoes, bring snacks and a notebook to take notes on each visit!

Once you arrive: Don’t forget to sign in with your tour guide or with admissions! Attend the information sessions, meet the admissions staff, take your tour, see if there are separate tours for parents and guardians and prospective students (this is to gain different perspectives and different information!), talk to actual students on campus and ask the personal questions you want answered by the school.

Some sample q’s

  1. What are the majors that your school is known for?
  2. What is there to do on the weekends?
  3. How accessible are the professors?
  4. What is the school community like?
  5. How do students spend their free time?
  6. What are the best and worst aspects of the school?
  7. Describe your relationship with your academic advisor?

Connect with people on campus who are in your area of interest (i.e. the same major you are considering, a club you are thinking of joining, etc.), sit in on a class if it’s available, check out a sporting event on campus, read the campus newspaper and take in any art you see on campus.

Pro Tip: Show demonstrated interest! Make sure the school knows you visit and are expressing interest. Many schools keeps track of your visits, if you interview, if you request information from them, etc.

Making your lists: Keep track of every visit, try to get business cards from your tour guide or the admissions office, use the notebook I told you to pack earlier to make lists of the schools you really like and what you like about them and make a pro and con list for every school.

When you can’t visit: Check the college’s website to see if they offer a virtual tour, use YouTube to search for virtual college tours, and request materials from the colleges via their website.

Final Thoughts: Take advantage of this time off to look at schools either in person or online. Get a better sense of what type of college or university you can see yourself at and keep an organized list of everything you like and don’t like about each one!