College campus visits are an essential part of the college decision-making process. While researching a school and talking to current students might provide valuable info, nothing is better than experiencing the school firsthand.
Visiting a campus yourself will allow you to understand your options better and weigh them against each other. It’s important to explore the campus, see what the school offers, and get a feel of the atmosphere you’ll be in.
In this guide, we’ll go over how to visit a college campus and make the most of it.
Before you visit a campus, you should do some research into interesting schools. There’s no point in visiting a campus that doesn’t intrigue you. You should compile a list of the schools that you’re interested in. Take note of which schools you could reasonably visit.
Now you can take a deep dive into your options. Explore the school’s website, watch virtual tours, and get familiar with the different programs and courses offered.
How to Visit a College Campus
Go to the school’s website. Click on the admissions tab, then look for a button that says “Visit” or “Schedule a Tour”. Click on the button and fill in whatever information is being asked of you. If the school doesn’t offer tours, then feel free to explore the campus without a guide. Find a map online and show yourself around!
Have Your Questions Ready
Every school is unique. One school might be perfect for you and your values, while another one might not be as suitable. You need to understand what you want from a school. If you want to do sports, then you need to make sure that the school offers that sport. Or if you’re majoring in chemistry, then you’ll need to know if the labs are up to date. Each student has their own needs and wants, but understanding them before the tour will help you understand what to look for.
Make an Itinerary
Outline a schedule that includes the tour, meetings with admissions counselors, and time to explore! College is more than just sitting in classrooms. Take some time to visit the surrounding area and revisit spots of interest.
During Your Visit
Taking the Campus Tour
Plan on arriving a few minutes early. Just in case the campus is a bit hard to navigate. Don’t be nervous to ask questions! Your guide wants you to have a good experience and they’re always well-informed about the school. Ask questions about campus life, academic programs, and school culture.
Attend workshops, events, or open houses that may be happening during your visit. It’s best to talk to other prospective students, current students, faculty, and speakers. You get to learn more about the campus!
Make sure that you see everything the campus has to offer. Remembering to visit everything might be overwhelming. We created a checklist to help you keep track of what you see during your visit. Download it before you go!
You’re likely going to learn more information than you can remember, so it’s important to take notes. Reflect on how well the campus aligns with yourself and your academic goals.
Compare Campus Visits
If you’re visiting multiple campuses, then consider making a spreadsheet to keep track of them. Enter the pros and cons of each campus. The spreadsheet makes it easier to compare all of them at once.
I've prepared a college admissions timeline for you! Click here to learn all about what you should be doing and when you should be doing it. My students, who have gotten into top schools, followed this advice!
Q & A
Q: What should I take on a college campus tour?
A: Take your phone, comfortable walking shoes, a bag, and a bottle of water!
Q: How do I prepare for a college campus visit?
A: Prepare by doing some research on the school. Do some research on yourself, too! Think about your ideal college campus. Ask questions that can guide you and your decision.
Q: What questions should I ask on a college tour?
A: Ask about campus life, the academic environment, and any other questions you may have! No question is a bad question. The guides are there to help you.
Q: When should I go on college tours?
A: Anytime you’d like! I’d recommend going on tours during your junior and senior years. This is approaching your actual decision, so these tours will give you better guidance for a decision.