Why summer campus visits are worthwhile

As summer arrives, many college-bound high school students and their parents are wondering if it’s worth visiting campuses while college students are on summer break.

Families have taken the time to thoroughly research colleges, so understandably, they want a productive college visit. In this article, we will highlight why summer college visits hold immense value, despite campuses being relatively empty.

Embrace the tranquility

Visiting college campuses during the summer allows parents and students to experience a different side of campus life. While the absence of hustle-bustle may create a quieter ambiance, it provides an opportunity for students to connect with the campus environment on their own terms. They can explore at a leisurely pace, take in the natural beauty, and gain a deeper appreciation for the physical surroundings. This tranquil atmosphere allows them to envision their future as a student and better understand how the campus aligns with their  preferences.

Personalized attention

During the summer, admissions officers and staff members are often more accessible and willing to engage in meaningful conversations. This presents a golden opportunity for the parents and student  to have in-depth discussions, ask specific questions, and receive personalized insights about the college’s programs, opportunities and support systems.

They should seize this chance to gather valuable information that may not be as easily accessible during the busy academic year when the pace picks up and staff’s regular responsibilities resume. Additionally, connecting with admissions staff will help them associate a face with a student’s name when they see their application materials come through.

Uninterrupted exploration

With fewer students on campus, they have the advantage of uninterrupted exploration of college facilities and resources. They can visit libraries, laboratories, athletic facilities and other key areas of interest. They can take their time to examine the state-of-the-art equipment, study spaces and research opportunities available. By immersing themselves in these environments, they can gain a comprehensive understanding of the resources that will contribute to academic and extracurricular experiences.  Tell them not to forget to read bulletin boards!

Engage with faculty

Professors may have more availability to meet with prospective students during summer. They can take advantage of this time to connect with professors in their intended field of study. They can discuss academic interests and research opportunities and seek guidance on potential career paths. Engaging with faculty during the summer can provide deeper insights into the college’s academic environment and the level of support available.

Document the experience

During summer college visits, make sure your students take comprehensive notes and photos. During this more tranquil period, it becomes easier to focus on observations, impressions and any questions that arise. Detailed notes will be invaluable when comparing colleges later on and making informed decisions based on firsthand experiences.  Have them make sure to take down any names and contact information of people they spoke to in case they have follow up questions.

With summer visits behind them, your students can narrow down their choices and then return to those campuses when classes resume. And there’ll be a bonus: They’ll already know their way around!

Happy exploring, and may their summer college visits lead your students to the perfect college match!

Elizabeth Lough is an advisor with Illinois based My College Planning Team

She is also a high school guidance counselor in Massachusetts. She can be contacted via email at elizabeth.lough@collegeplanningteam.com