Visiting colleges can be an exciting chance to get a peek at what your life might look like in the next few years: what you’ll study and where you’ll live. You want to make the most of the opportunity by planning it carefully. This is especially important if you’re traveling to visit a school that you may not get the chance to visit a second time.
Following are a few tips to help get you focused on these important visits:
Schedule your tour well in advance
Look ahead on your calendar and choose a good time for you and your family to make a visit. The earlier you start planning, the more options you’ll have, in case tour days get filled up.
Review potential agendas
If the school offers more than one type of tour and/or agenda, review them carefully and choose the one that works best for both your interests and your schedule. Take the opportunity to personalize your tour as much as possible, if that’s an option. Get the most out of your tour by ensuring you find out the information you want to get, and visit with the people who can best answer any questions you may have.
Prepare your questions
Another advantage to scheduling your visit well in advance is that it gives you ample time to review information about the college online and prepare. Take some time to review your agenda and make a list of questions (PDF). Many of them might be covered in the presentations and tours you’ll take, but it’s a good idea to have your questions on hand, just in case.
Add some free time
If you have the time in your schedule, plan to spend some time on campus on your own after the official tour has concluded. Stroll campus and just take it in. Hang out the library, explore the student union, grab a bite to eat in campus town. See how the campus feels when it’s just you, taking it in.
How to dress
College students generally dress casually and comfortably. With that in mind, you can plan to blend in, but maybe step it up a notch, considering you may be meeting with professors, financial aid officers, etc. Nice jeans are probably fine in most cases. Plan to dress for the weather and plenty of walking, however. Comfortable shoes are a must, and bring an umbrella if it looks like rain.
She’s experienced in planning and paying for college both as a student and parent. With one child through college and two more a few years away from it, she is right there with you on the college-planning journey. A creative pro with years logged in journalism, public relations, and marketing, she’s been writing for the College Planning Blog since its launch in 2006.