Home > School and Learning > By Grade > College > Visit College Campuses During the Summer

Visit College Campuses During the Summer

Brought to you by the American School Counselor Association

If you and your parents have time over the vacation, then summer campus visits, while not quite the same as visiting during the academic year, are still worth the trip. Though most students aren't on campus, you can still get a school's "flavor" during the summer by taking a campus tour.

In the fall, I highly recommend, that you visit the schools on your "short" list (your favorite top schools), in the fall to go on interviews, sit in on classes, and see what the campus is like when school is in full swing.

If time, distance, and your budget limit the number of schools you can visit, you can still narrow down your list based on your summer research and interests, and then plan a visit to your number one choice in the fall.

Here are some suggestions for how to prepare for campus visits:

1. Do your homework. Use the Internet and/or college handbooks (available in libraries and high-school guidance offices) to gather information about the school ahead of time. You should know the following basic information:

  • General location of the school
  • Majors offered
  • Tuition and related costs
  • Size of student body
  • Average SAT's/GPA needed for admission
  • Setting (big city, college town, or rural campus)
  • Affiliation (public, private, liberal arts, church-affiliated)
  • Average class sizes and student-teacher ratio
  • Percentage of students who graduate in four years
  • Safety/security of campus (schools must make statistics available upon request)
  • Career placement services and employment figures for recent graduates
  • National rankings by various sources
  • Sports offered
  • Greek life
  • Religious affiliation
  • Male/female ratio
  • Computer, Internet, and e-mail access
  • Cultural opportunities
  • Housing (dormitories and off-campus housing)

    2. Set up an interview. Once you've done your homework, call the Admissions Office to make an appointment. Never just show up. In the summer, it's important to call ahead for an appointment because admissions staff may be on vacation.

    If you're serious about a school, you should go on an interview even if it's not required. You want an admissions officer to have a picture to go along with the name on your application, and you want to find out as much as you can about a potential future "home." Before arriving on campus, you should set up interviews with:

  • An admissions counselor
  • A financial aid officer
  • A professor or other representative from the academic department(s) you're interested in
  • An athletics coach, if applicable

    Tips for Sizing-Up the Campus
    When you're there, study the campus closely--does this seem like a place where you would like to spend four years of your life? Also, investigate the closest community. While most of your time will be spent on campus, you'll want to venture into town to take a break. Be sure that the campus and the local community will meet your needs.

    Should you bring your parents?
    For the initial college visits, it's a good idea to bring at least one parent with you - if possible. Since most parents will be paying at least part of the bill, they usually expect to have a little "say" about where their money is going. While you might not want your parents "tagging along," colleges expect and encourage parents to attend initial visits. Parents also have a way of asking questions some kids may be too shy or uncomfortable to ask.

    While I recommend that parents visit a school with prospective students during the summer, ultimately you'll need to decide where to spend the next four -- or more -- years of your life. Make every effort to demonstrate to yourself and your parents that you are mature enough to make the right decision. When you come back from your visit, make sure you:

  • Review your research.
  • Make a list of the pros and cons of each school.
  • Talk with former and present students (get a list of students who've volunteered to talk to prospective students from the admissions office).
  • Schedule a visit for the fall if you liked the school.
  • Get input from your parents, counselors, teachers, and friends.

    Enjoy your visits and good luck!


  • highlights

    Zika Virus Q&A: 4 Facts for Pregnant Women & Families
    Zika virus is pretty scary. Pregnant or not, learn what steps to take to protect your family from Zika, including travel restrictions and mosquito bite prevention.

    Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books
    Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme!

    Ommm! 5 Meditation & Mindfulness Activities for Families
    Family meditation and mindfulness can help reduce anxiety and promote health and happiness. Learn some fun and easy mindfulness activities for kids, and set them on the path to inner peace!

    Ready for Kindergarten?
    Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

    stay connected

    Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

    Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

    Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

    editor’s picks