Mastering Summer College Visits
Touring campuses during summer can be challenging. Make it worthwhile with these college visit tips.
By Kathryn Knight Randolph
June 14, 2011
Summer college visits are just plain easy for a variety of reasons. There is more time for you to explore a variety of campuses, including those that are far from home. You don’t have to worry about missing a day or two of classes just to find your perfect college match. And vacation plans might allow you to visit campuses that you otherwise wouldn’t.
But there are also a few drawbacks to making your college visits during the summer. With these expert tips, you can master the summer college visit and take advantage of an otherwise lackluster time on campus.
Grasp the Student Experience
One of the major disadvantages to visiting colleges during the summer is the obvious lack of students. But that shouldn’t stop you from getting a sense of the student life.
There will be students on campus. Some will be taking classes, others will be conducting research and a few students will be interning or working on campus throughout the summer. Chances are, the admissions office at each school has go-to students that can meet with you to talk about student life.
When contacting the admissions office, you should ask to connect with a student who is:
• Studying the major you’re interested in
• Playing the sport you would like to play in school
• Or part of an organization that you want to be involved in during college
Meet with Professors and Staff
Summer is a great chance to meet with faculty and staff that otherwise wouldn’t have time to talk with you about your potential major and extracurricular involvement. There will be a few professors in town for the summer who would be more than happy to talk about major requirements as well as what graduating students go on to do with that major.
If you’re interested in Greek life, a political campus group or student government, schedule an appointment to meet with staff advisors or faculty liaisons to these groups. They can not only detail the time commitment and benefits of getting involved but also put you in touch with a current student that can answer questions over email.
Tour the Town
During the school year, you may only have a few hours to devote to a campus visit, leaving you without a glimpse of the college town and surrounding area. The summer months give you this opportunity to explore the city that you may call home for the next four years.
First, hunt down the practical places that will be your go-to for everyday living items like toothpaste, shampoo and snacks. Also, scope out bookstores, coffee shops and public libraries – these destinations will provide some variety to your study sessions when the campus library gets old.
Second, see what there is to do for fun around the town (think restaurants, shopping centers and entertainment venues) as well as scope out potential off-campus housing. You may not want to live on campus all four years and you need to ensure that there are good housing options within the city.
Best of luck with your college visits this summer! And remember, you can start scoping out college campuses in our new college videos section.