One might think that the nastiest phone calls a college admissions counselor fields are the ones from students not offered admission. Nope. Some of the most disgruntled callers were those who had to be told that there was just simply no more space left the day they wanted for fall college visits.
I get it. You’re only going to be driving through the area on a certain day or there was only one day that worked with your school and sports schedule. It’s frustrating when the stars don’t align. But, trust me… colleges don’t like to tell people they can’t visit! Most colleges wish they could accommodate everyone interested in an information session or tour, but sometimes there is, quite simply, just no more room at the inn. The room where we held our daily information sessions topped out at around 80 and the bus that took folks on tour only held 35. So shy of risking the fire marshall shutting us down or violating all kinds of traffic laws, once those registration spots were filled for each of the three daily sessions, we had to tell people to pick another day.
So to avoid being told that there’s just no room for you, here are a few tips:
Fall College Visit Tips
Call or get online to schedule any fall college visits NOW! You might not be a “planner” but trust me, lots of folks are and at some schools those spaces fill up fast!
When you plan your visit, check to see what “extra” things you might want to schedule into your day. Almost all colleges offer something akin to an information session led by admissions staff and a campus tour. Additionally, some colleges will offer extra information sessions for special interests. Maybe you’re interested in the equestrian program? Check to see if a barn tour is offered. Are you interested specifically in studying engineering? Check to see if information sessions are offered specific to your major of interest. Really want to learn more about the Honors program on campus? They might offer their own separate information session.
Bottom line: Be thorough when scheduling your visit. If the website doesn’t seem intuitive or comprehensive, call the admissions office and ask if there is someone who can point you in the right direction to find how to make the most of your day. It’s also always a great idea to schedule lunch into your day and even better if you can plan to grab lunch at a campus dining hall. Just don’t expect the college to pick up the tab!
Mid-Week Is Best
Consider visiting mid-week. Crowds are usually much smaller Tuesday through Thursday. This means you’ll get a bit more attention and have a greater chance to have all of your questions answered. I know, it’s not always ideal to miss school or take off work, but if you happen to have a random mid-weekday free – take advantage of it!
Check your top colleges for Open House dates. Most colleges hold admissions open house events in the fall. Most of the time these will be on weekends. Open Houses are generally great way to get a lot of information in one day. The admissions staff has already sort of taken the time to consolidate everything you’d want to see into one visit. Word of caution, however; sometimes you feel like you’re being herded throughout the day as Open House visits typically attract very large crowds!
No Room At the Inn
Make your hotel reservations if needed. Remember – fall visit season is also football season. If you’re interested in schools with big football programs, it might already be too late to think you’ll get a room in the same town or even county! Also, keep in mind that some colleges won’t even entertain admissions visitors on a game day. Don’t be angry! Trust me, they do this for your own good. Game day is generally NOT a good representation of what your life would be like at that college. It’s an exciting environment, yes, but it’s not a day-to-day picture.
With a little advanced planning, fall college visits can be a fun time for the whole family! Just please plan ahead. You’ll be able to visit each college on a timeline that best suits your family’s schedule! Happy travels!