Physically visiting a school is the best way to know whether or not that school should make your list. The best time to visit campuses would be spring of your junior year while the college is in session. Research at home which schools would be a good match for you before visiting.
Visiting a school can give you a feel of the student body, the location, the class environment, living situations, etc. You will be able to determine whether that school would be a good match for you.
If the colleges you’d like to visit are close, plan a day trip to the schools for a tour. If you are interested in an overnight/weekend stay, contact the school to check availability.
If the colleges you’d like to visit require travelling or overnight stays, plan ahead. Confirm with each school their availability for campus visits. Try to visit as many schools in the area. For example, if you are interested in going to Stanford, take the opportunity to visit other Bay Area schools such as the University of San Francisco or University of California Berkeley in one trip.
If the colleges you’d like to visit are out-of-state, it will require additional planning. Check with each school for availability or any upcoming special visitor events and try to schedule as many visits in the shortest amount of time possible. Flights and hotel stays should be booked in advance. For example, if you are flying to visit Columbia University in New York, schedule visits to surround schools like New York University or Syracuse University. You may also be able to schedule trips to schools in surrounding states such as Harvard University in Massachusetts, Yale University in Connecticut, or Brown University in Rhode Island.
Next post will cover what to do during a campus visit!