What is the most wonderful time of the year to visit colleges? Visiting a college campus is one of the most exciting steps in choosing a college. If possible, it’s best to visit colleges before your applications are due. That way, you can be confident you’d be happy at any of the colleges you’re applying to.
Go when school is in session and not during final exam time. So try to avoid the college campuses’ winter, spring and summer breaks and the weeks leading up to those dates. Most colleges and universities are open year-round for visits and campus tours. But the time of year you visit will impact what you see.
There are two different reasons for visiting the college and university. The first is the student‘s need to get an idea of what life would be like on that campus. And second is- before you decide when to visit a college campus, remember why you’re going.
We’d love to help you plan your college visits. If you’re wondering when you should begin the college visits, check out our given methodology that created for you. See below, what visiting campus is generally like during winter, spring, summer, and fall?
Whenever you choose to go, enjoy the trip!
Springtime is similar to fall, as far as the general vibe and stress level on campus. The spring of junior year is a good time if you’ve already researched colleges. Spring break is also good if you play fall sports or are considering applying under early action or early decision plans, which usually have application deadlines in November of senior year.
- Expect: Nice weather, more knowledgeable and comfortable students
- Lesion: Possible graduation madness, high school conflicts
Summer is generally the most convenient time for families to visit colleges, with most of them on their best recruiting-the-next-class behavior. The late summer and early September before senior year are convenient times to visit since many colleges begin their fall semester as early as mid-August. Many students must do summer visits because of the time demands during spring and fall.
- Expect: Campus to yourself, no conflicts with high school schedule, can combine campus visits with family vacations
- Lesion: Campus to yourself, no school in session, not the most accurate view of the college, travel costs might be higher
Fall is often the nicest time of the year for scenic walks around college campuses. The timing for fall high school breaks vary somewhat, so check to see if any colleges you’re interested in have classes going on during your fall break. This is a great way to see the best of a college without missing any of your current classes.
- Expect: Nice weather, school is in session, energy is up
- Lesion: New school year, hectic campus, possibly high school conflicts
Winter is the calm between the storms at most universities. It is still a great time to visit if you want to look at the academic and financial aspects of a college, but an organized winter campus tour might not be the most pleasant—if the college even offers one at all. It may be more useful for seniors to wait until the fall through winter to make their visits. That timing can help senior’s narrow college lists.
- Expect: Often low-stress time on campus, more knowledgeable and comfortable students
- Lesion: Bad weather/cold, possible school conflicts
There is no doubt that visiting a prospective college or university is one of the best ways to experience the culture of a particular school. By the end of their junior year of high school, most students have compiled a short list of colleges that interest them. The schools on that list will have a mixture of criteria that they do or do not meet: ideal location, reasonable cost, academic rigor, courses of study, etc.
Note: No matter when you go, the importance of visiting campus for yourself cannot be overstated.
While you should think about what visiting might be like during a given time of year, remember that you’re going to have to live through all of these seasons. And if you think you can or should visit a school time during multiple seasons, you may be able to do that too—time and money permitting, of course.