Planning a Successful College Visit

By Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of and mother of two

It’s that time of year! Families across the country are gearing up for college campus visits.  Before taking the time (and spending the money) to apply to schools, it’s a good idea for students to visit a variety of campus’ to determine which will be a good fit for them and their family. However, this may not be feasible for many families due to the associated costs. As an alternative to the traditional campus visit, students can do virtual tours on websites such as, or attend a virtual college fair on

But if you are planning an onsite campus visit before making the big decision, here are some tips for how to make the most of your time.

1. See a variety of colleges. Visit public, private, big and small schools. Stay open minded – even if these colleges are not your first choice, it will give you an idea of the options available to you. And you never know, after visiting you might change your mind about what your first choice school is.

2. Do research before you go. Map out a plan of must see spots on campus. If you’re planning to major in chemistry, visit the chemistry building. Visit dorms, the bookstore, the tutoring center and dining halls.

3. Make appointments. Try to meet with the people who can answer your important questions like the dean, counselor, financial aid office, coaches or instructors.

4. Visit when school is in session. This will give you a more realistic picture of the campus culture and whether it is a fit for you.

5. Bring a checklist. During the campus visit, take note of the size of the campus, academics, majors, athletics and activities.

6. Sign-up for the campus tour. Come prepared with questions such as:
• “Which majors are impacted?” and “do you give merit aid?’
• You can also arrange to sit in on a class, and possibly spend the night in a dorm.

7. Most importantly have fun. College visits should be a fun learning experience.

What you don’t do is just as important as what you do while visiting schools. Here are some things to avoid on campus tours:

1. Do not visit more than 2 schools per day. Overbooking can be stressful for both parents and students.

2. Don’t limit yourself to visiting just your Dream Schools. Plan on visiting colleges that are realistic for your family financially and where you have a realistic chance of getting in.

3. Parents don’t do all the talking. Students need to see the colleges through their own eyes. Allow students to tour the campus by themselves at some point in the visit.

4. Parents don’t buy the t-shirt or bumper sticker just yet. This puts undue pressure on the student.

5. Follow up. Don’t forget to send a thank you email to the admissions office after the tour, especially if it is at the top of your list.

About the Author:
Mandy Ginsberg is the CEO of, the world’s largest and highest-rated online tutoring company with a community of more than 3,000 expert tutors, and over 10 million one-to-one online tutoring sessions served. Professional tutors are available 24/7 in 40 plus subjects, including AP courses and SAT test prep. Ninety percent of students who use get better grades, feel more confident and complete their homework on time., an IAC company, powers tutoring and homework help programs for the Department of Defense; thousands of public libraries, school districts, colleges and universities; and the states of Alabama, Alaska, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.