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summer campus tourWe encourage students to visit colleges whenever they can. There’s nothing like setting foot on a college campus to make the college search feel real. Students can learn a lot from spending time talking with admissions counselors, faculty and current college students as well as investigating what campus is like for themselves.

College visit season really gears up in the spring and then again in the fall. During the summer, there’s usually a lull while school is out of session.

Of course, summer is often an ideal time for families to visit campuses. With more flexibility in their schedule and without the worry of missing school, it’s more convenient for students to plan visits over summer vacation. However, visiting a college campus in the summer is a different experience from visiting while school is in session. As with all things, there are advantages and disadvantages.

Below are some tips for summer college traveling and some pros and cons to consider when embarking on college visits.

How to prepare for a college visit in summer

As always, students and families should check what is available during the time they intend to visit campus. Colleges are in varying states of functionality during the summer and by taking a look at their college admissions website or giving the admissions office a call, it’s easy to find out what is being offered. Take a look at our past blog, College Visits: Finding a Good Fit, to see what students and families can expect during a typical campus visit and how to get the most out of it. During the summer months, less activities will be available but the process of finding a good fit is still an important one.

Students should still do research before a visit, take notes during and record their reflections of the experience. A summer visit is still an opportunity to learn and to make an impression while there.

Consider the pros and cons about visiting schools in summer.

Pros

  • More individualized attention – With less people touring during the summer and more admissions staff on campus, it’s likely the admissions office and tour guides will have more time to spend with each student answering questions and giving advice. The faculty that are on campus will also be more accessible during their slower summer hours.

  • More time to explore/less pressure – Time spent on campus will be less hectic as there will be less people around and less scheduled events. This gives families more time to take things in at their own pace. This also means that students don’t have to jam everything into a quick trip because they’re worried about missing school and extracurricular activities. If they desire, the family can spend more than one day in the college town and really get a feel for the surrounding areas.


  • Cons

  • Less students on campus – Summer visits aren’t ideal for finding out the personality of the student body or how campus feels while class is in session. Colleges can sometimes feel like ghost towns and it can be hard to gauge how campus feels during the school year.

  • Less activities offered – The usual activities such as sitting in on classes and spending time with current students and faculty won’t be as readily available. Classes aren’t in session and most people are off campus for summer vacation.

  • While on campus, students should also make sure to ask admissions counselors about connecting them with additional opportunities to learn more. It’s true that campus activities are somewhat limited during the summer but admissions counselors can hook students up with people on campus who can talk about what interests them. Using admissions counselors as a resource can really expand the experiences possible during a summer visit.

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