Since the 1st grade, summer vacation has always been the time to forget about school. As the high school years wind down, however, it is important to start thinking about college. Visiting campuses during the summer is a smart and easy way to do this before life gets too busy in the school year. Here are 7 tips to making your college visits worthwhile.
1. Use the free time that you have right now
Brainstorm which colleges you are interesting in seeing and designate open weekends from now until Labor Day to tour them. Doing this in the school year can be a lot more challenging, especially when you are traveling far away. You want to have enough time at each campus to feel comfortable and distinguish the differences between them.
2. Look at the schools you never even considered
You may already have an idea about what schools wouldn’t be a fit for you, but by visiting these places you will get you a stronger idea of why that is. Knowing what characteristics you don’t like in a school is helpful in choosing between your favorites in the end. And who knows, you may end up surprising yourself.
3. Schedule an organized tour
Having a tour guide who knows the campus is a great way to see it through a student’s eyes. You will learn and see much more and can have all your questions answered on the spot.
4. Be prepared for a quieter atmosphere
During the summer months, the amount of college students on campus decreases significantly, so it is logical to expect that the streets will be quiet. This doesn’t mean that you won’t still be able to meet people. Getting an overall feel of the college’s environment helps you develop a sense of what life is like in the school year. Plus, you can always plan to see your favorite campuses again later.
5. Explore your academic options
Going to colleges in the summer gives you higher accessibility to advisers, professors and counselors who would have normally been too busy in the school year. This gives you the opportunity to ask questions about your interests, understand what to expect academically and discover what unique opportunities are available at each school.
6. Ask questions
Take advantage of what time you have to draw conclusions about the colleges you visit. Come up with a list of questions beforehand that you want to have answered revolving around:
- outside-of-school programs
- dorm life
- campus safety
- social events
- employment options
- financial aid
7. Leave with a souvenir
Take pictures on your smartphone, pick up campus brochures and take notes during the tour. You will be happy when you are making final decisions later that you have documentation to refer back to.
Admissions professionals highly recommend touring schools to gain a good understanding of what it is like in person. Take advantage of it now and use each of these tips to make touring worth your while.