GET THE TIMING RIGHT
The time of year you visit campus can significantly impact your impression of the school. While summer typically affords more time for exploration, a pivotal part of the campus is missing: the community. It can be difficult to get a feel for a college when most of its students and teachers aren’t there.
Register for guided tours early since tour spots can fill up fast.
GO WITH A PLAN
Winging a college road trip would be like, say, showing up for your AP history final without studying. So, develop an itinerary, especially if you’re visiting multiple schools, just as you would for a vacation road trip.
PREP THE CAR
Have a technician perform a comprehensive vehicle checkup. Also, pack safety essentials—everything from a first aid kit and warm blanket, to jumper cables and a tool kit, to plenty of water and nonperishable food. Paper maps can come in handy in case cell service is spotty.
PAINT THE TOWN
You’ve come this far; stay for a while. The feel of a campus community also relies on the vibrancy of the surrounding town, so check out the local restaurants and attractions. Take notes (it’s good practice for college classes, too) and photos. After all, this is the one time you’ll get to grade the college, instead of the other way around.
TREASURE THE TRIP
You and your family are about to invest big bucks to attend college, so spend the time and effort worthy of that investment. Also, keep in mind that some colleges consider “demonstrated interest”—that is, your sincere interest to attend a school, demonstrated by a campus visit (among other measures)—in their application process.