Visiting Colleges

College Visits, University Visits, Ivy League Visits

Summer college visits are convenient but how can you get a feel for a school without students on campus? Photo credit: Getty Hall.

Many people recommend visiting colleges over the summer months. Students and parents often have the free time to cross the country and go on campus tours during July and August. Students won’t have to take off from school and miss classes. It’s warm out. It’ll be a fun family trip. But what’s wrong with this picture? What’s wrong is that at the vast majority of colleges, students won’t be on campus during July and August.

How can you as a prospective student truly get a perspective of a university that is devoid of students? Schools are all about the students they attract. Shouldn’t a prospective student know if the students tend to be jocks or have blue hair? Or maybe both? Shouldn’t a prospective student know if students actually like the university they attend? How could they possibly know if current students aren’t around to ask!

Are there some colleges in which students are around during the summer? Yes. But these schools are the exception to the rule, not the rule. Instead, prospective students should visit colleges on their school breaks during their sophomore and junior years. But obviously not during Thanksgiving or winter break since again, students aren’t on campus. The early fall of senior year is a good time too.  Visiting colleges during the summer may well be convenient…but it’s not the most opportune time to really get a feel for a college.

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