The campus is a barren tundra. It’s the middle of winter break. It’s cold and snowy (depending on the locale) and the college students have all gone home for the holidays.
Unfortunately, during holidays or over breaks is when families can often find the time to squeeze in college visits. Although it would be ideal to visit colleges while classes are in session and the campus is abuzz with students, sometimes it’s just not possible. A college visit in the “off” season is better than no college visit at all!
Families shouldn’t let a quiet campus limit their experience. There are still activities to participate in, people to talk to and things to learn!
To make the best of college visits during winter break, students and families can …
Tour the campus
The admissions office will likely still be offering campus tours (with more limited availability) so be sure to sign up on the college’s website! Families will get a formal introduction to the school, a chance to look at academic and residential buildings, and the opportunity to ask questions.
Speak to faculty
A lot of the faculty may be off campus but if students can track down a professor in their field of interest to chat with, they have the potential to learn a lot. Find out from an admissions counselor who may be available to speak to when students are visiting. Students can even email professors prior to their college visit to see if they would be willing to meet.
Meet with admission counselor
Admissions counselors can give interviews, answer questions, and direct students towards additional resources. Especially when there aren’t as many organized events for prospective students, admissions counselors can be a great guide when it comes to personalizing a student’s visit.
Take advantage of the extra freedom and the lack of students packing the sidewalks! Walk around and do some exploring. Get a feel for the campus and the surrounding areas. Students can take their time to investigate things that interest them specifically without worrying about losing a tour group or holding people up. They may even run across the odd student and have the chance to start up a conversation!
College visits are a valuable piece of the college application process. There’s only so much a student can learn about a school on paper. Getting a chance to set foot on the campus, and to meet the administrators, the faculty and the students can help prospective students decide if that school is a good fit for them. Even if students can only make it to colleges during holidays or breaks, the information they’ll gain from the visit will be valuable to them as they build their college lists.