Plan Campus Visits: Two Strategies for Your College Trip

When you first plan campus visits, you may not be sure how to start. There are a lot of decisions to make, schedules to create, resources to find, and routes to map. 

Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Between Go See Campus’ College Trip Planner and this article, you will be able to jumpstart your road trip and more easily find the information you need.

Two Considerations for a College Trip

When students and parents plan a campus visit, they will typically use one of two approaches: 

A) “I’ve got a specific set of days that I need to use for my visits.” Or,

B) “There is something I really want to do when I visit campus. I’ll plan my trip around that activity.”

The problem is that many times these two interests are in conflict. Students and parents will plan campus visits and then have to reschedule their trips because there is no tour offered on a date that they will be visiting (or another important activity is unavailable).

Factors to Consider

There are a variety of issues that can affect the days for which you plan campus visits…

Vacation: High school break for students and days-off from work for parents.

Stage in the college search: Is the student prepared to visit campus and have a meaningful experience?

Availability of campus activities: Some universities require students to register for tours, information sessions, and other events in advance. These activities may be unavailable after they reach capacity.

Special events: Students might want to visit colleges on days they offer Open House or Overnight Visit events. Or, students might be interested in attending an athletic event or student performance on a specific date.

Time of year: A student’s experience on campus will differ greatly when college students are on campus versus when they are out for vacation. University tours during the summer can still be valuable, though.

Two Strategies to Plan Campus Visits

The strategies below are meant to give you a way to cut through a haze of details, deadlines, and dates. They aren’t rigid guidelines. The idea is to help you avoid having to change your plans because of the conflicts between the activities you care about and the dates you have available. 

Strategy 1: Plan campus visits based on your availability.

  1. Determine the dates that you have available for college trips.
  2. Compile a list of colleges that you would like to visit. Group the colleges by geography (Southern colleges, Western colleges, etc.)
  3. Create a map for a trip that includes colleges in the same region. Review the travel time between schools.
  4. Based on the travel time and the days you have available, you may decide to add or subtract colleges. Our article, Let Your College Map Be Your Guide, can help with this process. It recommends that you take the time to experience each school and that you account for factors that can delay your trip, like traffic.
  5. Plan campus visit activities, like tours, at each school you will visit. Since the travel schedule you have created tells you when you will arrive and depart each school, you will know which activity times fit with your itinerary.

Strategy 2: Plan campus visits based on activities.

  1. Compile a list of colleges that you would like to visit.
  2. Review the activities available at each college, such as Open House events and overnight stay opportunities. Make notes on dates and activities that are important to you.
  3. Order the colleges you want to visit according to the dates of these activities. If the activities occur around the same dates, see if the colleges are also located close to one another.
  4. Create a map for a trip that includes these colleges. Add or subtract colleges to ensure that you have adequate travel time between schools.
  5. If required, register for the campus visit activities at each school you will visit.

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Did you use this advice to plan campus visits for yourself or your student? Which strategy did you choose, and how did it work for you? Share with the community.

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