Are College Visits Worth It?

With summer break approaching quickly, students and their families are planning their vacations. However, they may want to consider planning college visits as well. After all, if students are planning on attending college, it is important they know what they are getting themselves into before they apply. There are definitely pros and cons to visiting colleges, but their value ultimately varies between student.

The pros are valuable. Youtube tours of most colleges are available, but videos do not capture the overall atmosphere and community of the school. Visiting schools allows high school students to interact with actual students at the universities. Their perspectives are different from that of a university’s website, and talking to them may offer some new insight into life as a college student.

There are also less obvious pros as well. When visiting, prospective students can walk through their travel procedure. They can critique how convenient and efficient it would be to have visitors (most likely parents) if they do end up attending the college. This is also important if the student hopes to own a car or travel off campus frequently. Traffic and proximity to a major city can significantly change the view of a college. Some universities are buried within urban cities, while others are isolated from most population.

There may also be cons to college visits. It costs money to buy a plane ticket or buy gas for a long car trip just to visit a school students may not even apply to. However, visiting schools that students end up not liking can help narrow down the list.

To get the most out of a visit, high school students typically check out their favorite colleges when their classes are in session. That also means they will have to miss school to travel. Long weekends are ideal for college visits because they prevent high schoolers from missing any classroom time (which is very important, especially during junior year) and they allow students to have time to make up any work that they missed if they do miss school.

So, are college visits worth it? Ultimately, it depends on the student. If they are undecided or do not know what kind of college they like, visits could be extremely valuable. Visiting a university with over 20,000 undergraduate students can let the student know if they would enjoy a big school or not. College visits are not imperative, but they may help high school students figure out what they like and where they would fit.