Summer is coming and college visits are on the agenda for many families. However, many college counselors typically discourage summer college visits. Colleges may feel like different places during the summer when class is not in session. But, summer may be your only option for visiting, especially if you are considering colleges far away from home. So, should you visit colleges during the summer? Yes! Follow these four tips to make sure your summer college visits are worthwhile.
- Attend summer visit events. Many colleges offer preview days or open houses during the summer. Admission offices will go to great lengths to prepare incredible visit opportunities for prospective students. They will do their best to make a summer visit more representative of what the students may experience during the school year. Many colleges will publish their event schedules, giving you an opportunity to learn about all of the great things you’ll get to experience. In addition to the admission presentation and campus tour, you may be able to sit in on a class, meet professors, and meet current students.
- Work with the Admission Office to schedule your visit. If colleges do not offer open houses during the summer, or if you can’t make the event, you still have options. Let the college know you will be visiting and share all of the things you want to do while you visit campus. For example, if you want to sit in on a class, meet a professor, and talk to a coach, let the Admission Office 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. Give the college as much notice as possible because college campuses will be less active during the summer. Many professors and students will not be around. However, the more notice the college has, the more likely they may be able to schedule the things you would like to do while on campus.
- Consider an early or late summer visit. Colleges may be on different schedules than your school. For example, some colleges start classes in August and you may not return to school until September. If there is a college you are considering that is on a different schedule than your school, you may have the opportunity to visit the college campus while classes are in session.
- Large colleges will still feel “in session.” Smaller college campuses may be very quiet during the summer. However, colleges with large populations will still have a lot of people on campus. Larger colleges may have many summer classes, students and professors doing research, and other events during the summer. While the full population won’t be on campus during the summer, you may not even notice because the campus will still be very active.
Some may say to never visit colleges during the summer. If you have the opportunity to visit a college during the school year, take the opportunity. However, if summer is your only option to visit a college, definitely make the visit. You will still get a good feel for the college, and you may have some extra advantages, such as:
- No missed school. Missing school can affect your grades, especially if you miss something important. Summer college visits mean you won’t have to miss school.
- Coincide with family vacation. You will already be in town for vacation and you can add it to your list of things to do. Plus, the whole family will get to see 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 visit.
- Plenty of parking. Colleges are known to not have 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 admission professionals, as well as other administrative offices.
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 what time of the year you visit.