Guest Post By: Erika Coplon

Visiting college campuses is a key step in finding the school that is the best match for your teen.  Nothing can compare to walking on a campus, sitting in a classroom, meeting with professors, and talking to students about their particular experiences.  In order to maximize your time spent on campus, it’s critical to map out a game plan for your visits.

Here are InsideTrack’s Top Ten Tips for a successful college visit:

1. Encourage your student to do some homework before their visit.

Your teen should read up on each school in a couple of guidebooks and visit the school websites to get a general overview and flavor of the school.

2. Take advantage of the scheduled admissions events.

The guided tour, led by a current student, and information session, run by an admissions officer, are must-dos when you’re on campus and typically require advanced reservations.

3. Have some questions ready to go when you step on campus.

Both you and your teen should write down a few questions you have about each campus so that you make sure to get them answered by the tour guide or admissions officer.

4. Sit in on an actual class.

Get a feel for academic life on campus.  Try and sit in on a similar class at each school so that you can accurately compare the level of teaching and student interaction.

5. Make sure to go off the beaten path.

Wander around the campus on your own.  Grab lunch at the student union and get a feeling for the student body.  Take a look at the flyers and postings and pick up a copy of the student newspaper. 

6. Ask a student.

 If you have questions, ask a student!  They typically love to talk about their school and will provide a unique look into student life on campus.

7. Take notes.

The more colleges you visit, the tougher it is to keep all of the details straight.  Both you and your teen will want notes to refer to as you finalize the college list and again when you’re making the final decision about where to attend.


8. Have a formal interview.

Depending on the timing of your visit, your child may have the opportunity to interview with an admissions officer while on campus.  This is a great opportunity, but your student will need to spend a good deal of time researching and preparing for that discussion prior to their visit.

9. Check out the larger community.

You’ll want to spend some time in the nearest town, getting a sense for the resources and relationship between the community and the college. 

10. Have fun!

With the proper preparation and planning, the college campus visit can be a special experience for parents and your children.  Relax and enjoy the dedicated time spent with your teen, as you both work to find the right college match.

At InsideTrack, our College Admissions Coaches work with students to ensure that they are prepared to maximize their time on college campuses.  They help students develop a list of questions for each school, create a game plan for touring the campuses, and prepare for admissions interviews. The college visit is an essential part of finding the right college fit, and an area where college admissions counseling can provide expert guidance.  InsideTrack Coaches partner with students to gain clarity on schools that are the best match, and then work to help them shine on their college applications -while building the skills necessary for success once they begin their freshman year.