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THE ORBIT BLOG

  • Writer's pictureShelby Stewart

How to Make the Most of Your College Tour: 6 Essential Tips for Prospective Students

As spring break approaches, high school juniors across the country are gearing up for an important rite of passage: college visits. Whether you're just starting to explore your options or narrowing down your choices, visiting campuses in person can provide invaluable insights into college life, academics, and campus culture. However, preparing for these visits requires careful planning to make the most of your time and ensure a productive and enjoyable experience. Here's a guide to help you get ready for your spring break college visits:


Research and Prioritize: With thousands of colleges to choose from, it's essential to narrow down your options before hitting the road. Spend some time researching schools online, considering factors such as location, size, academic programs, campus culture, and extracurricular opportunities. Make a list of your top choices and prioritize the ones you want to visit during spring break.


Schedule Campus Tours and Information Sessions: Once you've identified the colleges you want to visit, check their websites to see if they offer campus tours and information sessions during your spring break dates. Many schools require advance registration for these events, so be sure to sign up as soon as possible to secure your spot. Additionally, if it is offered, consider scheduling individual meetings with admissions counselors or academic departments to get personalized insights into the school. Be sure to register using the student’s name and email, rather than a parent’s. If possible, use the same email that will be on the student’s application. This way, if the college tracks demonstrated interest, they will know the student visited. 


Prepare Questions: College visits are an excellent opportunity to gather information to help you make informed decisions about where to apply. Come prepared with a list of questions about academics, campus life, housing options, financial aid, and anything else that's important to you. Don't be afraid to ask your tour guides, admissions counselors, and current students for their insights and experiences. One of my favorites to ask is, "If you had a million dollars to invest in your school, what would you put it towards?"


Dress and Pack Appropriately: While college campuses are generally casual environments, it's still important to dress appropriately for your visits. Opt for comfortable clothing and shoes that are suitable for walking tours and exploring campus facilities. Depending on the weather, you may also want to bring layers or rain gear. Don't forget to pack essentials like a notebook, pen, water bottle, and cell phone to document your visit.


Take the Time to Explore Campus: When the tour is over, don’t feel that you need to leave campus right away. Enjoy a meal at the dining hall, grab a coffee at the on-campus Starbucks, or just sit in the student union. Observe what is going on around you: can you see yourself in the mix? 


Keep an Open Mind: Finally, approach your college visits with an open mind and a willingness to explore different options. While you may have a list of preferred schools, don't rule out other colleges that you visit. Keep an eye out for unexpected gems and opportunities that may surprise you. Remember, the goal of college visits is to gather information and find the best fit for you.


Spring break college visits can be an exciting and informative part of the college admissions process. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to discover the possibilities that await you on college campuses across the country.

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