Six Steps to Get the Most Out of a Campus Visit

Why plan a visit?

Checking out a college campus near you is a great idea, even if you don't know what you want to major in or what type of college you want to attend. Campus visits can give you a sense of what might be important to you in a college and what college life is all about. Here are six suggestions for planning and getting the most out of your visit.

1. Decide Where and How.

Find out which colleges are nearby. Think about planning a visit. Your high school may have programs that arrange group trips to colleges. You could also get a group of friends together and visit the campus by car or public transportation. A family trip is another option, allowing you to involve your family in the process.

2. Prepare for Your Visit.

Before you set out, get a map of the college campus (the college's website usually has one). Pick out places of interest. Call the college's admissions office to schedule a guided campus tour. Ask about the best times to visit.

3. Take Your Own Tour.

Wandering around the campus on your own or with friends can be the best way to get a feel for the college.

4. Explore the College's Facilities.

Talk to students to find out the best places to eat and have lunch there. Visit the library. Check out the gym or the theater. Ask an admissions officer if you can tour a residence hall and a classroom. Find the spots on campus where students gather. Hang out there to get a feel for the character of the college.

5. Make Connections.

Talk to current students while on your campus visit. Ask the students at the next table or sitting on a nearby bench what they like best about the college and being a student there. Most will be eager to talk about their experiences.

6. Make Notes.

During your campus tour, write down some notes about your experience. What did you see that excited you? Do you feel you could explore the library for days? Can you picture yourself on stage in the theater? Do you want to get a closer look at the equipment in a lab? Are there aspects of the college that you don't like? If so, what are they?

What now?

When you visit a college, relax, observe, and have fun. There's no pressure.

To find the best time for your visit, read When to Visit.

For help planning your visit, read Campus Visits: Know Before You Go.


What’s a campus tour?

A campus tour is a visit by prospective students to a college or university to tour the facilities, meet faculty and students, and learn about academic programs and campus life. It helps students make informed decisions about college options by giving them firsthand experience and a chance to ask questions. A college visit is important in the college selection process. It helps students have a fulfilling and successful college experience.

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Why do I need to visit a campus?

You want to be certain the college is the best place for you to live in and learn in. Meeting with admissions staff, faculty, and current students gives you valuable insights and answers to questions you may not get elsewhere. A campus visit lets you see if a college aligns with your academic, social, and extracurricular interests. In sum, a visit helps you make an informed decision.

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How do I prepare for a campus visit?

To prepare for a campus visit, research the college. Make a list of questions. Take notes while engaging with faculty, staff, and students so you can remember what they said. After returning home, reflect on the experience to make sure the college campus is the right place for you.

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How do I schedule a college visit?

If you want to visit a college, start by researching it online. Then contact the admissions office to find out what dates are available for campus tours. They can help you plan your itinerary, address a special request such as an in-depth tour of a science lab, and answer your questions.

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What else do I need to do for upcoming college visits?

If you’re wondering how to plan college visits, here are a few things you can do. Research multiple colleges. Prioritize your top choices. To make sure you get the dates you want, plan ahead. If there’s someone you want to meet, like a coach, ask the admissions office to set up an appointment. Don't forget to schedule time to take pictures and explore the area around the campus.

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