What's the best time to visit a college campus?

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Our counselors answered:

What's the best time to visit a college campus?

Rod Bugarin
Former Admissions Officer Columbia, Brown, and Wesleyan University

What's the best time to visit a college campus?

Here is my video response to the question.

Scott White
Director of Guidance Montclair High School

What's the best time to visit a college campus?

Fall or spring (before May).

Karen Ekman-Baur
Director of College Counseling Leysin American School

When to Visit a College Campus

The best time to visit a college campus would be when school is in session. I've visited a lot of college campuses, both privately and on organized tours. Unfortunately, most of these visits were at times when classes were not in session because of my own availability. It is much more revealing to visit a college when students are on campus and classes are taking place. You can get a sense of the campus culture, talk with current students, maybe arrange on overnight, sit in on selected classes - all of this in addition to the campus tour and information session. Of course, you should avoid going during exam periods.

Dori Middlebrook
Owner Dori Middlebrook Educational Consulting

What's the best time to visit a college campus?

The best time to visit a college campus is when students are there and school is in session. This way you can get a real "feel" for what the student population is like and what life on campus would be like. If possible you should try to visit campus at the time of year you fear the most. If you are considering a school located somewhere with unusually hot weather (Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, etc.) visit in August or May. If you are considering a school with extreme winter weather (Wisconsin, Maine, Massachusetts, etc.) visit in January or February to see what the cold is really like. Visiting campus is like trying on a pair of jeans, you won't know if the school is a good "fit" for you unless you "try it on". A campus visit should be a priority before you make your final school decision.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

Undoubtedly the prime time is when...

colleges are in session. You can sit-in on a class, have lunch in the college cafeteria, meet a few students and really get a feeling for the campus culture. Many schools offer an overnight visit opportunity to seniors.

kati swanson
Counselor TMCC HS

The best time to visit a college campus

To get the most out of your college visit, schedule it when school is in session. This will give you a real feel of campus life. Visiting while the college is in session will also give you a chance to speak to current students.

Helen Cella

What's the best time to visit a college campus?

When school is in session

Penny Deck
Owner Champion College Counseling

Visit when the campus is in "full swing"

Although weekends and summers can be the most convenient time to visit college campuses for high school students and their families, you don't get a true picture of the culture and social climate when the students are not there attending classes. Spring break junior year is a great time to visit because most high schools have their breaks in April and most colleges have their spring breaks in March so you will be there when the students are there. You will be able to see the hustle and bustle of college life and also be able to sit in on classes if you choose. Also, in the spring the weather is usually warm and more students will be outside enjoying the sunshine!

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Visiting campus

Always, always visit campus when school is in session. You want to see other students, sit in on a class or two, chat with the admissions office, and during senior year most colleges will allow you to spend the night on campus. Try not to visit when no one is there....you'll get no feel for the life of the college.

Jill Karatkewicz
Counselor East Hampton High School

Students on Campus

The best time to visit a college is ideally when the college students are on campus! For high school students it is often easiest to visit during the summer vacation, but the major drawback is that there will be very few students milling around to get a good sense of whether or not you think you will "fit in" there. Initial visits are best made in the spring of the student's junior year, perhaps during a spring break when high schools are not in classes but colleges have not yet finished their school year. Visits should always be set up ahead of time by contacting the admissions office.