The fall season is one of the best times to visit colleges, but many families blow this crucial opportunity.
They don’t start planning early enough, don’t schedule enough visits, and miss out on chances to learn more about the schools on their list. This means they don’t give their students a chance to figure out what’s important to them and which types of colleges might be the best fit.
The fall months are a key time to visit the schools on your list, no matter where you are in the college planning process. It’s how you can get a feel for a campus in person and talk to current faculty and students. It’s also how you can explore majors and career opportunities, and get answers to your biggest questions.
Choosing a college is a potentially life-altering decision, so you want to give it time and plan accordingly. Depending on your grade level and where you are in the process, there are different things you should be doing.
In this article, we’ll take a look at those and how to plan and make your fall campus visits. The fall visits period is a short window, so you need to work on this now.
If you’re a high school senior and you haven’t started making your campus visits, you’re falling behind. Now is the time to catch up. You don’t want to run out of time and end up making a bad decision because you didn’t experience enough schools in person.
If you don’t feel like you’ve visited enough schools or you’re still uncertain, it’s critical to plan and schedule more visits as soon as possible.
Another reason to make some additional visits is if any latecomers have been added to the list of schools you’re considering. This is your chance to squeeze in a couple of final schools that might not have been in the running previously.
On the other hand, if you’ve already visited most of the schools on your list and have narrowed things down, you may want to wait for admission decisions. For example, you may want to wait for acceptance letters and make some final accepted senior visits before you make your ultimate decision.
Whatever your circumstance may be, if you’re a senior, the coming months are your last chance to visit colleges before it’s too late.
The high school junior year is the visit year. By the end of your junior year, your goal should be to complete most of your visits, so you don’t end up panicked and out of time during your senior year.
The fall is a great time for juniors to make some of their first college visits, even if you’re just making some local visits to get your feet wet. For example, you might visit your nearest public or private college to see how visits work and learn about majors and careers, even if you’re not planning to attend that school.
Your junior year is also when you should be taking the opportunity to attend college days, plug into weekend visits, or attend open houses. These are the events and visits where you’ll have an opportunity to learn the most information about each school, get answers to your questions, and really see what campus life is like.
Freshmen and Sophomores
Many of your college visits may happen during your junior year, but some students and families may need to start making their visits earlier. If you have busy schedules, a long list of colleges, or you prefer to take a lot of time to review your options, you may want to start earlier.
Getting a head-start is also a good idea if you’ll need to visit schools in multiple states and may need to travel far and wide to evaluate your options.
Speaking of travel, if you’re traveling to go on vacation, visit a relative, or attend an event, and there’s a school on your list near your destination, take the opportunity to visit the campus while you’re there. It could a stealth visit or a drive-by, or maybe you can arrange a more formal visit. But anything you learn from the experience could save you time and effort in the future.
College Visit Resources
If you want to learn more about college visits and how to make the most of your time on campus, check my other resources on this topic:
five types of college visits, what they mean for you, and how they can help you find the right school, avoid mistakes, and put your student on the path to a bright future.
college visit checklist and questionnaire, with hundreds of questions you can potentially ask, arranged by category. Reviewing this list is a great way to figure out the questions that are relevant to you and which ones you’ll want to ask.
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