Making the most of your college visits

Maximize your campus tours 

For students and families, campus visits are a huge part of the process when choosing a college. They’re crucial for getting a feel for campus life, academic programs, and the overall vibe of the school. But making the most of your visit involves some thought and strategic planning. You’ll want to consider things like travel expenses, campus activity levels, and scheduling—this stuff can make or break your trip. So before you pack your bags, put some thought into how you can make your trip worth it.

Top tips for a smooth campus visit

Score some travel deals. If you're on a budget (who isn't?), timing your visit right can save you some serious cash. Keep an eye out for off-peak times. That means avoiding peak holiday seasons when ticket prices skyrocket. Snagging a flight during quieter months or even midweek can lead to major savings. Plus, fewer people traveling means less chaos at the airport – win-win!

Check the campus schedule. If you’re looking for a quiet visit, think about swinging by during the school year when classes are in session but major events (like orientation or homecoming) aren't hogging all the attention. Trust me, you'll get a more authentic feel for campus life when it's not overrun by crowds.

On the flip side, if you want the full college experience—bustling quads, packed cafés—consider timing your visit when campus is buzzing. Sporting events or even midterms week can give you a taste of the real deal.

Plan ahead. The final year of high school is busy! Trying to balance everything on top of traveling can be difficult. The College Board® recommends spring of junior year to start touring and setting up visits.  It will pay to do your research ahead of time on what colleges you’d like to check out.  

Talk to the students. Chatting with current students is the smart move. They're the ones living and breathing the college experience day in and day out, so who better to spill the tea? Try swinging by popular hangout spots on campus. You may get the lowdown on everything from the best dorms to snagging a late-night slice of pizza. 

Explore the area. College isn't just about what happens on campus—it's about the whole vibe of the area. So why not take some time to explore the surrounding neighborhood or city? Whether it's checking out local hotspots, parks, or cultural attractions, getting a feel for the community can help paint the picture of what it would be like to live there for the next few years. 

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Ask all the questions 

Seriously, don't be shy! College visits are your chance to gather all the info you need to make an informed decision about your future. So if you've got burning questions about majors, campus facilities, or whatever, speak up. Admissions officers, professors, and current students are there to help. Asking questions shows you're engaged and serious about finding the right fit—and that's a big deal.

And most importantly—have fun! 

Remember, it's not just about gathering information. It's also about having fun and thinking about your future. Making the most of college visits boils down to your strategy, timing, and your own engagement. Whether it's saving on travel, avoiding campus chaos, or diving into local culture, seize the opportunity to ask questions and immerse yourself in the experience. 

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