Wrapping up your summer with a few final campus visits

July 30, 2012

The summer between your junior and senior year of high school is a momentous one and you've likely been traveling all around your region, if not the United States, looking for the ideal school for you. As the summer winds up, there's no better time to fit in a few more campus visits - especially close to home. Making a day trip of it can turn the a college tour into a short vacation for the whole family too.

Since you've probably added a few schools to your list since May, look these over and settle on a few that you'd like to see. Then hit the open road. Try to visit three in a weekend if you can. And as you're touring these schools, keep a few helpful notions in mind.

1. Interviews are key. Especially for a school that you have a vested interest in, an interview is essential. Putting in face time with the admissions counselors at a school can vastly improve your chances of acceptance. It means you're much more than a name or address to them when it comes time to make decisions and send out letters.

2. Soak in the surrounding scenery, get a feel for the town or city. Remember that you're not just considering spending the next four years on the campus. A feel for the location and town will help you in your own decision making process. Is there enough to do? Is it too loud? What are the libraries like? Public transportation? Parks?

3. Call ahead. The admissions office will be working overtime scheduling all the visits and tours it needs to arrange over the summer. While just showing up means you can usually tag along with a tour, calling ahead means you've secured yourself a guide and potential interview. And it makes the admissions counselors' jobs easier!

4. Consider a return. While summer visits are easier thanks to vacation time, there's one major downside - you never get a feel for the campus when school is in session. For this reason, those schools that give you a good feeling should also get a second chance. Head back on a weekend in October and sit in on a class or two. Some colleges will even find overnight hosts. If you're very interested, don't forget to inquire about scholarship opportunities. These can help a lot with tuition and book costs.

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