Spring break is right around the corner and Rising Seniors everywhere are looking at their colleges lists, wondering when they will get their visits in. Between studying, test dates, and school activities, it is tricky to get everything done! Spring Break is a prime time for arrange for a few college tours, if you follow a few guidelines.
Do some research.
Start with your list of schools and begin searching the university web pages. It is recommended that you avoid the college spring break, as you won't have a opportunity to experience the real student life of the college or sit in on any classes. You also want to try to avoid finals week if possible. You can find this information by searching for the school's academic calendar. While you are researching schools, you may also want to look up restaurants, shopping and tourist attractions in the area. Take note of these items for your visit day.
When you’re scheduling your college visits, check out each school’s admissions page on their website. You can usually sign up for tours and info sessions online. If you’re not able to sign up for tours online, call the admissions office to talk about scheduling options. Call the admissions office to ask for more information on fun things to do around campus during your visit, such as local restaurants, attractions, and more.
Schedule visits in one region.
Select a grouping of schools in one region. You want to experience colleges, not spend endless hours in a car! Set your college visit list to include schools from one particular region and plan to visit several in that geographic area. You may even add a school that was not originally on your list that you uncover in your regional research. That's great! Be open to discovery! You never know how much you might like a school until you have seen it in person.
Plan Out the Length of the Trip.
When it comes to actually visiting the school, you should give yourself about a half a day per visit. A really ambition college tour schedule could include a group of two to three schools in one region. Make sure to include time for exploring, driving, and an least one overnight in that region. You want to get a feel for the area if you would potentially be living there for four years! Then, move onto another region and repeat!
What to Do on Your Visit.
There are many possible things to do and so little time to do them when it comes to visiting colleges! It is strongly recommended that you sit in on the initial info session, especially because it provides opportunities to hear questions from other parents and students. Taking the official tour and sitting in on a class is also important because it lets you see the school from a wider perspective. It’s also a great idea to tour the dorm, eat in the college cafeteria, and pick up a school newspaper so you get an idea of what’s going on around campus.
Decide Who to Visit With.
While it sounds like a lot of fun to take a college road trip with your friends, it is recommended that students take the initial college visit with just their parents. In the long run parents are going to be paying for the education and looking our for your best interests. Touring with friends may be too distracting and students may not pay attention to what is best for them as individuals. It’s important to realize that your parents are likely to be the ones who will ask your tour guide about safety, financial aid, and other important things that you may be afraid to ask. It’s a great opportunity for parents and students to learn more about what the students like and don’t like in a college.