College Guide - How to Decide Where to Visit

Make Your Next College Visit Count

By Vaughn College

Sending your child off to college is one of life’s most memorable moments. Helping them choose the right college, however, can be a challenging decision.

College tours play a major role in the decision process when selecting the best college for your child. Physically walking the campus, touring the buildings and speaking to administration and faculty representatives can give students and parents a true feel for the college.

We realize you may not be able to visit every college on your list, so we’ve put together some helpful information to help you narrow your choices and decide which colleges to check out and which questions to ask once you’re there.

Let’s start with some tips for a successful college tour:

Plan early:

Students, get a head start by touring colleges in your sophomore or junior years in high college. Transfer students should plan on touring colleges at least one semester prior to applying. The earlier the better.

Schedule a tour:

Many colleges have set times for tours and prefer that you make appointments ahead of time. Call the colleges you plan on visiting and schedule a tour date and time with them before you arrive.

Plan your trip:

Most college visits require a road trip, so map out the best routes to take and book accommodations early. Hotels fill up quickly during college tour dates. If you’re considering out-of-state colleges, it’s a good idea to plan family vacations in or near those locations to make the most of your time and resources.

Entrance essays:

If your choice colleges require an entrance essay, choose your topic and begin drafting it early. This will give you plenty of time to streamline your writing and craft a powerful essay.

Talk to students and other parents:

You just might get your best feedback from talking to students (and their parents) who are already attending the college. Ask them questions like, “Why did you choose this college?” and “What do you like and not like about it?” These students can be your best resource.

Tour the residence halls and explore off-campus housing:

Most college tours include a sneak peek into the residence halls. Don’t be shocked when you see the small living spaces. Campus living may be your first taste of independence, so embrace it by making it your home away from home. Although freshmen are encouraged to live on the campus, it’s always a good idea to ask about any additional housing options associated with the college.

Download our helpful checklist and fillable questionnaire to make the most out of your next college visit.

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