Walking around a college campus, visiting with current students and professors, getting a ‘feel’ for the campus and the academics is all part of a successful college campus visit. Most colleges and universities schedule walking tours and information sessions year-round. Over our nine years in business, we have done many, many itineraries for families during summertime. We are, however, often asked if it makes sense to visit their teen’s preferred list of colleges over the summer when most classes are not in session.
In a perfect world, everyone would like to schedule visits during the school year, but taking time during the school year is often difficult for both parents and students. For many families, it’s just impossible to visit all of the colleges on a student’s list at one time.
For so many reasons, college visits (see Why are College Visits Important blog post) are important—so visit when it works for you. No matter what time of year, they are still the best way for your teen to get a good feel for the culture and ambiance of each college.
SUMMER SESSIONS FOR MATRICULATED STUDENTS
Many colleges offer summer classes for enrolled students and on many campuses there are students that stay during the summer for work or to do research. Dartmouth College sophomores are actually required to spend the summer on campus. So while you won’t see as many students as during the fall and spring semesters, chances are there will still be students about for you to interact with. [If you want to make sure that you spend time on campus during colleges summer sessions, check the website before you make your travel plans.]
CAMPUS WALKING TOURS DURING THE SUMMER
During summer months, colleges and universities continue to offer guided campus tours that are led by current students and the admissions offices do hold information sessions. In fact, at some colleges and universities it is the perfect time to schedule a personal interview. And because the admissions counselors are not as busy during the summer, students may have the chance to ask more questions and get a more in-depth view of the school.
OPEN HOUSES AND DISCOVERY DAYS ON CAMPUS
Many institutions offer open houses and discovery days for high school students during the summer. Make sure your teen registers on the websites of those colleges that are of interest to them. They will be notified of any special events that the colleges may be hosting for prospective students and you can plan accordingly. Remember, these special events usually fill up quickly, so you should plan as far in advance as possible.
COMBINING FAMILY VACATION AND COLLEGE VISITS
Combining a Family Vacation and College Visits
If you have the time and flexibility, it may make sense to combine college visits with a family vacation. As I mentioned in a previous blog, Sightseeing Gems on College Campuses, many colleges and universities boast historic landmarks, museums, halls of fame, gardens and other points of interest right on their campuses.
EXPLORING THE AREA AROUND CAMPUS
Exploring the area (whether a small town or large city) around the college is also important. You’ll find that many college towns offer a wide variety of things to do, and visiting will give your teen an opportunity to visit restaurants and other places frequented by college students. Afterward, you may want to head to one of the cities nearby where there are plenty of plays, museums, attractions and dining options for you to enjoy. Or, if your family loves the outdoors and for example, if you’re planning to visit colleges in Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine you can find plenty of hiking, boating and more!
THINK ABOUT GETTING OFF THE FENCE AND START PLANNING!
If you’ve been on the fence about taking a college visit road trip this summer, go ahead and make the plans! Colleges and universities around the country welcome students to their campuses and you and your teen will be glad you took the time to visit.