Maybe it's time to knock two items off of your to-do list?! Spring break is just around the corner; start planning your family's spring break road trip and college visit(s).
Taking a combination approach to spring break is a great way to connect as a family and get in those campus visits you've been pushing aside. Plus: Family memories. What parent doesn't love getting two things done at once?! Spring break is your time to make smarter, more informed college decisions!
is the perfect time to visit colleges and packing in as many visits as you can - while still having time to see each campus.
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Since most colleges have schedules that differ from high schools, visiting on your spring break is a great tactic because you'll get to see the school while there's still life on campus. Here's what you should consider when planning your college visit road trip.
Keep the following factors in mind when planning your trip, so that you're sure to get the most out of each experience:
Map it out
It makes sense to map your route, minimizing the travel time in between each school. Pick an area or region with several schools you’re interested in so you can visit multiple colleges
over the length of your trip.
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Plan your route ahead of time, so you’ll know each location you’d like to visit and the travel times in between.
That way, you can schedule your stops based on dates and take any appropriate college tours while you’re there.
Schedule stops ahead of time
Let each school know you’re coming – including the date and time you plan to be there.
See what tour options are available for prospective students and schedule your stops according to the availability of tours as well as when school is in session.
It’s always best to see a campus when school is in session because it’s the closest feel you’ll get to what campus life is like on a daily basis.
Take it easy
You need to plan your trip so that you have enough time at each school to take a tour and soak in all the aspects of student life.
Don’t schedule back-to-back tours all in one day at different schools in the area!
Take the time necessary to explore each campus
so you can get all of your questions answered while you’re there.
Along for the ride
Consider who you should take along for the ride. Siblings and parents are always beneficial because they can help you make the tough decisions by seeing the school with you and they often your voice of reason. They have known you for a long time. Or, perhaps, you have friends considering the same schools. Take whomever you like but make sure they’re people who will help you make a college decision based on your needs, not their own.
Don't forget to create your road trip playlist, OR let Spotify do it for you. They have playlists created specifically for road trips. You can find road trip playlists with new music hits
and even play lists with popular music throwbacks
Remember, it’s not where you end up that’s the fun part; it’s the journey it takes to get there. Stop places that look fun or interesting and be spontaneous! It’s a great way to make memories you’ll never forget.
While you’re there…
In addition to taking college campus tours, ask if you’re able to sit in on any courses, taste the food in the dormitory cafeterias and, perhaps, even stay in the dorms for a night.
You want to maximize the opportunity to get as much of the typical student’s experience possible so you can see if it’s somewhere you can picture yourself attending for the next four years.
Catch up or make contacts
If you’re lucky enough to know anyone that attends the school you’re visiting, contact them beforehand.
Ask if they’d like to meet for a meal or coffee to discuss their experiences in college as well as any recommendations for what you should check out while you’re there.
Often times, they’ll be happy to give you an unofficial tour, which can be more enlightening than the college-sponsored tour visits.
If you don’t know anyone, ask the school if they have any students available for questions. Many schools have students on campus that have volunteered to do so.
Initiate unofficial chats
As you’re exploring campus, talk to students and ask any questions you may have. Typically the colleges you're visiting are your top college choices. You should make sure the college you choose is the best value for you.
You’ll likely get the most truthful answers from students you encounter, rather than students who have already been given “appropriate” responses from the school’s administration.
If you’re visiting multiple colleges one after another, it may become hard to keep straight what you’ve learned about each school.
It’s also difficult to remember how you felt while being at each school. Take notes on both – don’t just jot down facts that you can easily find on the school’s website.
It’s more important to take notes on your feelings while being on campus, unanswered questions or what’s going on around you, to help trigger your memory later.
Your notes about each campus should include any likes, dislikes and questions you need answered later.
Think of it as a travel log, so you can reference back to each visit while trying to decide which school is right for you.
Do you have any other tips to help maximize college visits? If so, comment below!