Many students will be fortunate enough to visit campuses over the summer break. This is something that should be planned well ahead of time and take a lot of time to do. Any parent who has done this will tell you the coordination and planning of these visits is a huge effort. And one that is well worth it.
You will absolutely need and want the map of colleges by your side as you plan, along with a calendar and your laptop to search universities and their visit schedule.
- The major factor in campus visits is time and money. You don’t force these if either is limited. Colleges will not expect that you visit them from far away. It will benefit you by being on campus – not just for EGI (Efforts of Genuine Interest) which some schools track, but more so for the feeling you get from being there. There’s nothing like spending some time on campus to see what it is like if you are able to go.
- Be realistic. I would suggest no more than two university campus visits per day, maximum.
- Distances can be wide and far in the US; there might be a lot of driving. Keep this in mind.
- Also keep in mind that even with Google Maps, give yourself two extra hours to get lost, find your way and deal with parking. Stress on these trips is inevitable and so avoiding where you can control a reduction in stress (by giving yourself more time and less campuses to visit) will benefit everyone.
- Use the map of colleges to gauge which campuses on your Short List could be visited in one trip.
- Finally, while you want to visit the colleges on the Short List, here are two rules to live by:
- You will not visit every college on your Short List. I had one family do this and it took 3.5 weeks, cost a lot of money, and a very stressful summer;
- While you’re in the area… even if a college never made your Long List but is in the area and you have time and it is not way off (e.g. an all-women’s college and you are male), go visit! There’s nothing like feeding the mind and spirit with options and ideas. I’m not saying that this college may then make it to your Short List, but it will give you a better perspective and more understanding of your fit.
This is the third in the series of excerpts from my book, “The International Family Guide to US University Admissions”. You can read a review of the book here.
I have over 20 years of experience in the field of international education spanning four continents from teaching, admissions and fund-raising to educational publishing and university management.