It may sound fun to head out on a road trip to visit campuses but it can be a huge waste of time if you don’t plan ahead. Take the time to do your prep work before you hit the road and your visits will be much more successful.

Conduct your initial research close to home 

You should already have determined what your requirements are and tested them out by visiting campuses close to home. Even if they’re not on your list, nearby colleges are a good way to verify what is most important to you and to practice the art of campus visiting!

Once you have your list, do your homework

Campus visits are a way for both sides to get to know each other. You don’t want to make a bad impression if you determine you’re interested in the school, so do your homework. It's important to know something about the college before you arrive on its campus, especially if you have an interview scheduled. Read the material they send you, surf the website and prepare a list of questions to ask your tour guide, admission counselor or financial aid officer.

Map your course and schedule your trip

Ideally you want to visit a couple of campuses back-to-back, giving yourself at least half a day at each location. It’s best if you can go when their classes are in session so you can get a true feel for the campus and possibly sit in on a class. To help you schedule your trip: 

  • Find out when/how often college tours run, and if you have to sign up in advance.
  • If an interview is suggested, make an appointment. Also, consider meeting with the financial aid officer or coach.
  • If you're curious about a club, program, or a sport, arrange to attend a practice, rehearsal, or meeting.
  • Be sure to get a map of the school. You don't want to spend half of your visit trying to park or find the admission office.
  • Request visitor’s information in case you want to spend the night or tour the area.

Pack supplies: campus visit checklist, notebook and camera

After a couple of visits, colleges will start to blend together so it’s important to bring tools to help you remember what you saw and heard. Bring your checklist to make sure you cover all your bases and take photos and notes along the way. Write down your impressions before you visit the next campus or by the end of the day it will all be one big blur!