Visiting colleges during the summer may be your only opportunity visit. While some college counselors will tell you to avoid summer visits at all cost, the reality is you may not be able to visit during the academic year. So, what do you do?
There are multiple reasons you will be discouraged to visit colleges during the summer. Sometimes the campuses will be quiet and you won’t have the opportunity to see what it will really be like to be a student on campus. You might not have the opportunity to meet professors, meet current students, or sit in on any classes. In addition, the weather you experience during the summer may not be representative of what you would experience during the school year. If the opportunity arises to visit during the academic year, definitely go for it! But, if summer is the only time you have to visit, take these tips into consideration when making your summer visit plans:
- Attend summer visits events. Many colleges offer preview days or open houses during the summer. If you can visit a college during one of these events, do it. Admissions offices go to great lengths to prepare incredible visit opportunities for prospective students and they will do their best to make a summer visit somewhat representative of the college experience. Summer visit events will likely have classes to sit-in on and opportunities to meet professors and current students.
- Work with the Admissions/Visit Office to schedule your visit. If the college does not offer a summer visit event, or if you can’t make it on the date of a summer visit event, there is still hope. Notify the admissions office at least a month ahead of time when visiting during the summer and let them know the things you would like to do during your visit. For example, if you want to sit in on a class, meet a professor, and talk with a coach, let them know. While they won’t be able to promise everything, they will do their best to schedule everything you want to do while on campus.
- Consider an early or late summer visit. Schools are not on the same schedule. Some schools are in session from August to May while others are in session from September to June. If there is a college you are considering that is on a different schedule than your school, you may just have the opportunity to visit the college campus while it is in session.
If summer is the only time you have to visit college campuses, definitely take advantage of this time. You may not get the full effect of the college experience while visiting during the summer, but it can still give you a good idea about the college, the personality of the college, and the values of the college. In addition, you may experience these great advantages of visiting during the summer:
- No missed school. Doing well in high school is very important during the college admissions process. Missing school could jeopardize your grades if you miss something important, especially if you take a lot of days away from school to visit colleges.
- Coincide with family vacation. In addition to “killing two birds with one stone,” the whole family will be able to visit the college.
- Great weather. In many parts of the country, summer offers beautiful weather. You probably won’t have to deal with much rain or snow during a summer college visit.
- Plenty of parking. College campuses are notorious for not having enough parking. With much of the student population gone for the summer, you should not have a problem finding parking on campus.
- Individual attention. Depending on the college, campus tours can be huge during the academic year. Summer visits may give you the opportunity to spend more quality time with admissions professionals, as well as others on campus.
The college visit is a very important part of the college search process. Don’t skip the visit just because you can only visit during the summer. Instead, make the most of your visit no matter when you can visit.