Is a college visit in your near future? In addition to this advice about how to maximize your trip, here are answers to some common logistical questions.

  • What should I wear?

Something comfortable! Especially comfortable shoes! Most college visits involve walking, and you want to be able to keep up with the group. Also, although you don’t want to dress so casually that you feel uncomfortable (for instance, in a bikini) please keep in mind that there’s no need to dress formally. You aren’t being judged on your appearance.

  • Do I need to book in advance?

Definitely. Some schools don’t offer programming every day, and most often limit the number of spaces on tours and information sessions. Also, if you are interested in a specialized aspect of the school, like a certain major or a school within a university, it’s an especially good idea to register for any targeted programming well in advance. (Examples include preview days for engineers and information sessions specifically for students who want to enroll in the business school of a large university.) Make sure that there is availability before booking plane tickets or hotel reservations that can’t be changed.

  • Is it worth visiting in the summer?

Yes! Even though you might not get a complete picture, it’s absolutely worth visiting in the summer. Some colleges are actually in session, so will have lots of students on campus. Even if that’s not the case, though, schools understand that many families need to schedule their college visit in the summer, and will offer you robust programming. You will still very likely have student tour guides, and current students often participate in information sessions, even in the summer.

  • Are Freshmen and Sophomores too young?

No, it’s a great idea to take younger students on college visits. Even though you might not want to fly across the country just yet, checking out nearby schools early in high school is a low-pressure way to start the college visit process.


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Karen Marks

Karen has more than 12 years of experience evaluating candidates for admission to Dartmouth College and to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Since founding North Star Admissions Consulting in 2012, she has helped applicants gain admission to the nation’s top schools, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Wharton, MIT, Tuck, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth, Haas, Duke, Johnson, Ross, NYU, UNC, UCLA, Georgetown and more. Clients have been awarded more than $70 million dollars in scholarships, and more than 98% have gotten into one of their top choice schools.
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