How to Visit Colleges Without Ruining Your Summer Vacation By Kristina Carroll, CollegeWeekLive

Summer is in full swing, and the last thing you want to be doing right now is sitting in a sweaty college classroom listening to an info session. Well, you don’t have to. While it’s a good idea to go on a few college tours over the summer, there’s no need to spend your entire summer vacation scouring college campuses. Here are just a few ways you can visit colleges and still have plenty of time to relax in the sun.

 

1) Go on a Virtual Tour

This is probably the most obvious alternative to seeing a college campus in person. If you’re thinking about applying to a school on the other side of the country, it’s often difficult (and sometimes impossible) to travel there and see it in person. However, with today’s technology, you don’t have to. Many schools like Syracuse University and UC Davis have interactive tours where you can see every inch of their campus online.

2) Plan College Visit Days

If you’re interested in several schools in the same area, set aside one day to visit them all, instead of visiting one every weekend. By setting aside one or two days to visit all of the colleges you’re interested in, you’re leaving yourself more free time in the future. It will also give you a better ability to compare schools, and determine which ones you’re more interested in depending on what they have and don’t have to offer on campus.

3) Get Something Out of Them

Because campus tours and info sessions are often given to a group of prospective students with varying interests, the information that admissions officers and tour guides give is often very broad. Because of this, it’s extremely important to make sure that you come prepared in order to get the most out of your visit. Some ways to do this are by asking questions pertaining to your specific interests or needs, sitting in on a class that you find interesting or relevant to your desired major, or attending a sporting event or other on-campus event that you might be interested in participating in. That way, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to really picture what your life would be like if you were a student at that college or university, and it helps you decide whether or not to apply.

4) Wait Until the School Year

You don’t have to visit every college on your list over the summer, and most college experts actually advise against it. While it’s a great idea to cross a few off over the summer when the weather is nice and you have plenty of downtime, there are several reasons why you should save a few for the school year. One of the biggest reasons is that campuses are much livelier when the regular school year is in session—so visiting in the fall or winter will give prospective students a more accurate representation of what campus life is really like. Remember, some students decide not to tour a campus until after they’ve been accepted, too. But if you do this, it’s a good idea to chat online with admissions representatives, attend online info sessions or virtual tours, or participate in a phone/Skype interview before application decisions are released—so that admissions officers can see that you still showed interest in their college or university.

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