How to Plan a College Visit

You’ve done your research and compiled a list of schools in which you are interested based on your strengths and interests, the academic and social life you desire, and ideal college setting using online college search resources such as The Fiske Guide, Niche, Unigo, and each college’s official YouTube page. Now comes the exciting part: visiting them in person. To get the most out of each visit, you should plan with intention following the recommendations below.

Tips for Planning Out Your College Visits

1. Start with Colleges Close to You

Not every student can visit every school on their list. Distance, finances, and other commitments can make visiting challenging. When possible, start with schools that can be visited in a day. If you can manage a longer road trip, try to group schools together by location. Plan on visiting one or two schools each day so you can spend a few hours at each and still have time to drive to the next location.

2. Register for Sessions & Tours Ahead of Time

High school students visit colleges throughout the year, and especially around spring break and summer vacations. Official tours require pre-registration and tend to fill up quickly during these peak times. On a college’s website, find the “Campus Visits” page where you can register for campus tours and information sessions. We recommend you use the student’s personal email address for reasons of Demonstrated Interest that will tie the student’s application to their campus visit. When possible, we also recommend you register for both an information session led by an admissions counselor, and a campus tour led by a current student. Each provides an overview of both the academic and social sides of the college, from two distinct perspectives. If you cannot attend both, watch a virtual information session ahead of your visit.

3. Prepare Questions to Ask

As you do your research, jot down any questions you may have about the college and consider asking them on your visit. You will have an opportunity to ask questions during the information session and campus tour. Focus less on the questions you can find the answers to on the college’s website, and instead ask more probing questions. For example, you can ask for more detail about a unique offering, teaching style, tradition, or ask an existing student about how they found their way to this college.

4. Plan to Take Notes

Chances are you will visit several colleges in-person or virtually and it’s helpful to take notes about each visit. Consider creating a photo album for each school on your phone and take plenty of pictures, filing them in the associated album on your phone that you will be able to refer back to. Record voice memos about your visit immediately after the tour and capture what you liked and what you did not like. Bring a notebook to jot down your thoughts. Use our Campus Visit Checklist to capture your opinions. Choose the format that’s best for you. Remember, you may only be able to visit a college once before deciding whether to attend. By taking notes during your visit, you will help your future self not only decide where to apply to, but potentially where to attend.

Preparation Makes the Decision-Making Process Easier

As you head down this road of your college admissions journey, college visits and maximizing them through careful planning is what will help streamline the process of deciding which school you want to attend.

Looking for help with the college search and application process? We help students and families through the entire college planning journey – from search, applications and essays to interview prep, financial aid consultation and final school selection.

Contact us at info@signaturecollegecounseling.com or by phone, 845.551.6946. We work with students through Zoom, over the phone and by email.