As you may know, the optimal time to see a school is when regular classes are in full swing so you can see students on campus and get a feel if the student body may be a good fit for you. Unfortunately, this is also when you may be busiest. Scheduling campus visits around academic work, sports activities, and other extracurriculars can be quite difficult, which is one reason why so many families opt to check out colleges during vacations and the summer break. If you are planning to check out prospective colleges this summer, here are some points to consider to make the visit worthwhile.
- Take a virtual tour to see what campus looks like with students present – One of the positives that came out of COVID is almost every school has a pretty amazing virtual tour. Check out the admissions website and make sure you check in with your student email address. (This is important so the school sees that you have interest.)
- Schedule an information session and physical tour. – This may seem silly but arranging college visits is more difficult over the slow summer months than in the spring or fall since admissions staff is often reduced. Check out the school’s website to see when tours are offered. If the school has a summer session, drop in when those classes have started when more people will be on campus.
- Schedule a tour with a school within the colleges if you have a specific interest. – Visit academic departments that you anticipate majoring or minoring in. Professors are typically happy to meet with prospective students. Just remember that they are generally very busy and also take vacations in the summer. So, before you arrive, try to make arrangements to meet with them, as they can provide you with detailed information about their programs, including syllabi from courses you would be required to take or interested in taking. It’s a great way to get some inside information about your potential major.
- Schedule appointments with students services. – Take the time to visit any departments or organizations or student services that are of special interest to you (such as athletic departments, student clubs, mental health resources) and speak to people there (such as athletic directors, staff, club leaders). As with professors, you’ll typically find that most people enjoy meeting with prospective students to discuss their shared interests, so don’t be shy about reaching out to arrange these conversations. Also, don’t forget if someone you are interested in meeting is not available, inquire if they might meet with you virtually another time (including professors)
- Check out the area. – Although a majority of your time will be spent on campus, you will most definitely be a part of the local community for four years, and may even live off campus at some point. Walk or drive around the area, because the local amenities and “vibe” can make a big difference as to whether or not you could see yourself at that college.
Making Summer College Visits Worthwhile