Summer College Visits

Summer College Visits

I am often asked by parents whether or not it makes sense to visit colleges and universities during the summer, when most classes are not in session. Of course, in a perfect world, everyone would like to schedule visits during the school year but that often involves students missing school during a critical time period. Or, sometimes its just impossible to visit all of the colleges on a students list at one time.

My belief is to visit when you can, these visits no matter what time of year, are still the best way for your teen to get a good feel for the culture and ambiance of each college.

Summer sessions for Matriculated Students

These days, many colleges offer summer sessions for matriculated students and there are always students that stay on campus during the summer for work or to do research. Sophomores at Dartmouth College are actually required to spend the summer on campus. [If you have the date flexibility and you want to make sure that you spend time on campus during colleges summer sessions, check the website before you make your travel plans.]

Guided Campus Tours during the Summer

During the summer, colleges and universities do offer guided campus tours that are led by current students and the admissions offices do hold information sessions. In fact, at some colleges and universities it is the perfect time to schedule a personal interview. And because the admissions counselors are not as busy during the summer, students may have the chance to ask more questions and get a more in-depth view of the school. You and your teen may also be able to visit places that are usually off the beaten path.

You will find that many institutions offer open houses and discovery days for high school students during the summer and you can plan your trip around those specific events. It is wise to have teens register on the websites of those colleges that are of interest to them. That way they will be notified of any special events that the colleges may be hosting for prospective students.

If you have the time and flexibility, it may make sense to combine college visits with a family vacation. As I mentioned in a previous blog,, many colleges and universities boast historic landmarks, museums, halls of fame, gardens and other points of interest right on their campuses.

You might also check out the area surrounding the college. Some college towns offer a wide variety of things to do. Then, you may want to head to one of the cities nearby where there are plenty of plays, attractions and dining options for you to enjoy. Or if your family loves the outdoors and you’re headed to Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine you can find plenty of hiking, boating and more. Or you may decide to do both!

If you’ve been on the fence about taking a college visit road trip this summer go ahead and make the plans! It’s not too late! Colleges and universities around the country welcome students to their campuses and you’ll be glad you took the time to visit.

Janice Caine

1 Comment
  • Mark Efinger
    Posted at 03:37h, 14 July Reply

    Janice- all great advice here. Your suggestion to register on the website is excellent. Another good reason to do this in the summer is that many colleges now keep track of how many times a student contacts them for good reasons. This adds to the score they keep representing interest. Requesting an interview in the summer also adds to this score. If you get an interview- be sure to thoroughly prepare so that you can take the opportunity to impress the interviewer, not merely survive it.

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