Tips for Planning Your Summer College Visit

Planning a college trip is daunting. There are many factors to consider, including cost, where to visit, and choosing colleges that “fit.” There is also the issue of managing all of the emotions that come up with teenagers while visiting colleges. Our biggest recommendation is to make sure students know that visiting colleges is not about picking your “dream college.” It’s about understanding:

  • What is college?
  • What do I want from college?
  • What does college want from me?

When my students return from their trips, I ask them to debrief me on what they noticed and what they wondered. We try to stay away from black and white language like, “What did I like?” and “What did I not like?” (Click here Ethan Sawyers’s amazing Research Document) 

Here are some tips to streamline your college visit planning process:

  • Encourage your student to engage in the planning. 
  • Identify regions that includes clusters of schools (Northeast, Ohio, California).
  • Check out Covid policies before booking travel.
  • Avoid over-scheduling (students will often get visits confused).
  • Create a balance of big, medium, and small schools.  
  • Create a balance between reach, possible, and likely schools (join our webinar next month on how to build a college list).
  • Fill out all contact forms on the college website (this is key for demonstrating interest).
  • Research the name of your regional representative (consider setting up a meeting when you are in town).
  • Watch a virtual tour and information session before you visit to make the most efficient use of your time.
  • Understand the different types of tours: 

Student-Led

  • Facilitated by current students or alumni.
  • Can help you understand the social scene, school spirit, and overall fit.
  • Provide insight into life outside of academics.

Information Session

  • Usually led by admissions counselors.
  • Provide information on application requirements and admission expectations.

Self-guided

Covid did wonders for virtual tours and access to self-guided opportunities. A few of our favorites are the New York University and Claremont McKenna apps. 

For more information about e.Merging Consulting, please visit our website! We would love to hear your story!

When is the Best Time to Visit Colleges?

I am often asked, “When is the best time to visit colleges and universities?” 

The answer is: When it works for your budget and your student’s schedule. Since school is out, many people find summer to be the best time to approach this important undertaking. In terms of your budget, have you considered the plans you may already have in place and how college visits could become a part of them? 

Taking a Vacation: Planning a road trip? Visiting grandparents in another state? Think about which schools you will encounter on the way and spend some time exploring! Make the most of your time by noting any on-campus art, science, or music events; museums; galleries; and festivals. (Enter here some summer happenings) 

Staying Local: You do not need to travel far to explore a new campus! There are likely colleges/universities in your area that can be visited in a day! Scope out some local schools and make a day of it. There are constant happenings at the University of Denver, Colorado State University, the University of Colorado, Colorado College, and other surrounding schools in Colorado. Why not chart a course to visit a few so your student can get a taste of life on different-sized campuses? (Enter some summer events at these schools) 

Staying home: Can’t get out of the house this summer? No stress! Many schools offer virtual tours and countless online resources. Just because you may not be able to visit physically does not mean you cannot research! We recommend YouVisit for virtual campus tours and information sessions. Other ways to engage virtually with colleges are by taking online summer courses or watching lectures by professors. (Enter links to You visit, College Scoops) 

PRO TIP: Safeguard against becoming overwhelmed by college visits by planning your trips (virtual or in-person) with a specific purpose and a flexible mindset.