It’s ideal to tour colleges in the fall or spring, but it is often hard to get away with crazy sports and extracurricular schedules, standardized testing, etc. When school’s out for summer, many students and parents have much more time. If you are planning to visit colleges during the summer, here are some tips and things to keep in mind.
8 Tips for When You Visit Colleges During the Summer
1. Not all schools offer Saturday info sessions and tours.
Try to visit colleges when you can go on a tour and attend an info session. Information on info sessions and tours can be found online on school’s respective admissions websites.
2. Don’t forget to interview.
Fewer people tour in the summer, which means fewer people are on campus interviewing. Use this to your advantage. Do not miss out on the opportunity to interview on campus if you have had time to adequately prepare. Everyone should prepare for admissions interviews!!! You only get one chance to make a first impression, and though interviews are not the most important component of your app, a killer one can certainly help.
3. Check what classes are being offered during summer session.
Some schools have very active summer sessions, while others do not. There may not be a formal class visit program offered through admissions during the summer months, but you can still reach out to a faculty member and ask if it is okay to sit in on their class. You can also call and check with your department of interest (for example, the Math Department if you intend to major in math) and see if they can hook you up with permission to sit in on a class.
4. Connect with and possibly meet with someone from your department of interest.
Colleges are open in the summer, even if they don’t look too busy. Call or email your department of interest a few weeks ahead of time. Someone from the department may help you out with sitting in on a class, as well as be willing to speak to you personally or steer you in the direction of any other departmental opportunities that might be available during your visit.
5. Check the calendar of events.
Some college campuses are dead in the summer, while others have a lot going on beyond summer session classes. If there is something going on that interests you, try to check it out. This information could make a nice addition to a why school essay.
6. Take pictures, take notes, and get the names, emails, and numbers of everyone you meet.
Send thank you emails, or a handwritten note to your interviewer. In many cases, you’ll need this info if you end up applying.
7. Don’t forget to check out the surrounding city, town, or suburb.
Keep in mind, in some areas, folks head out of town for the summer. If it feels dead, ask around to find out if this is the case or if it’s like that all the time.
8. Keep in mind the “normal” temp of the school.
Remember, campuses located in Florida are not always as hot as they are in the summer, and those in Minnesota are not always as hot as they are in the summer. Keep in mind the “normal” temp of the school and that how a campus looks in the summer might not always be how it looks when you will be there studying.
Photo credit: DaytripperUniversity
Dr. Brittany Maschal is the founder of Brittany Maschal Consulting, an educational consulting group that provides individuals the guidance, resources, and support they need to navigate the college and graduate school search and application process. Prior, she held positions in admissions and student services at Princeton, Penn, and Johns Hopkins University. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Vermont and University of Pennsylvania, respectively, and received her doctorate in higher education from the George Washington University in 2012. You can visit her site here.