Visiting a college campus is one of the best ways to determine whether that college is a good fit for you. That being said, not everyone can visit every college they wish to apply to and possibly, attend.

By Wendi Ostroff

Exploring college websites and taking a virtual tour of their campus, right from the comforts of your home, can give you a snapshot of college life and academics. It can also give you some ideas of what you want to check out if you do plan a visit.

For high school students thinking about visiting college campuses, planning ahead is practical. Try to coordinate school visits with a family vacation such as spring break. While summer is not an optimal time because you don’t get a complete sense of college life filled with students, it is still worthwhile to visit. To get the most out of your visits, follow these 8 tips:

  1. Gather information about your college before you visit. Do some research to determine if they have the majors you may want to pursue. Think about some of the areas on campus you would like to see.
  2. Schedule a guided tour and ask questions. You need to book these online in advance. These tours are generally led by student ambassadors and they often share their own experiences of life on campus. Most schools frequently include a financial aid meeting before or after the tour.
  3. Check out the dorms and dining halls. Dorms are not always included in a campus tour, but you can ask about how you can go visit them and which ones are recommended for freshman.
  4. Explore the academic departments. If you already know what you would like to study, visiting that department and even sitting in on a lecture in your area of interest can be helpful.
  5. Check out campus media. Visit the school’s Facebook or Instagram page. Pick up the published school newspaper to get a sense of some of the ongoing happenings. Read the various bulletin boards that post flyers for support and events.
  6. Make connections. Talk to some of the students on campus. Go to the student center and have a meal amongst students and ask questions.
  7. Check out the athletic facility. Many schools have extensive athletic buildings that often include free exercise classes and a full gym for all students, not just athletes. If you are interested in playing a sport at college, contact a coach in advance and see if you can meet them while there. Be prepared with a resume to show you are serious about possibly playing at their school.
  8. Keep track of your college visits and jot down some brief notes. Include pros and cons so you can compare one school to the other when looking back at all your visits and making decisions.