When Should You Start Visiting Colleges?

Visiting colleges is a really important piece of your college journey. You want to get a true feel for the school’s personality, and stepping foot on campus will help you do just that. There is no hard and fast answer as to when you should start visiting colleges. You can start as early as your freshman year of high school and continue visits into your senior year. Because junior year is such a busy year, we recommend that if you haven’t already started, that you begin visiting colleges at the end of sophomore year or the summer before junior year.

When It Comes to Campus Tours, the Earlier You Start, the Less Stressed You Will Be

In junior year, time quickly gets away from you – especially if you play sports. So start your research, make your list of schools, and schedule those college visits early. Research colleges online and make a list of schools that interest you based on majors, size, location, school spirit and more. Our article What to Look for When Searching for Colleges can help you get started.

In 9th grade you can certainly dabble in college visits. In 10th grade, you should definitely jump in and start taking tours and signing up for information sessions. It is important to get a flavor for what it is like to be on a college campus and what to look for – and the earlier the better. This will give you an opportunity to really cast a wide net, then narrow down your college search so you can find schools that fit you best.

And, by getting this head start early, you will be less stressed when it comes time for completing those college applications. You will have an idea of what you like and don’t like about the schools you were interested in. And, you may even have more time available to visit those on the top of your list a second time.

Fit in Visits in Your Spare Time

Free weekends, school vacations and holidays are the perfect time to schedule a college visit. If there are colleges in your local area, start there. When taking a trip or heading to a sport tournament, see if there are any colleges on the way or in the area where you are staying and fit in a tour. Some families even like to schedule their vacation time around schools they want to visit.

By 10th grade and early into your junior year, visiting schools starts to get a lot more serious. So I would definitely suggest during your sophomore year, and certainly the second half of your sophomore year, to start visiting schools, continuing to do so into your junior and ultimately your senior year. I always say, don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today – and that applies to college visits.

Looking for help with the college search and application process?

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 in person, through Zoom, over the phone, and by email.