Is Junior Summer Too Early to Visit Schools?
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When is the best time to visit schools? Is junior year too early?
In short: no. In fact, this is the ideal time to hone your initial college list, which may be fairly broad, down to the ones to which you will actually apply. Come fall, you’re going to need to start working on college apps, especially if you apply early decision, and deadlines will come quickly. Avoid having the added pressure of visits on top of apps and schoolwork by visiting colleges now.
Visiting before you apply is also important because you should be demonstrating interest in colleges. Schools want to see that you’re invested in them because this helps their yield, the ratio of admitted students who actually attend the college. Visiting is one way to demonstrate that you’re invested in the school.
Now that you know that your junior summer, the summer before senior year, is a good time to fit in campus visits, how do you ensure that you’re really making them count?
How to Make the Most of Junior Summer College Visits
1. Start with the colleges about which you’re most serious.
As a general rule, you should start by visiting the colleges at the top of your list. If you’re considering applying somewhere early decision, that should be the first one you visit, since the application deadline is looming. You need to make sure it’s a good fit before you submit your application, since, if you are admitted, you are obligated to matriculate at that school.
Next, visit in order of your interest in the colleges, taking into account your likelihood of acceptance. In other words, don’t just visit your reach schools, because your likelihood of acceptance in lower, and you don’t want to be left deciding among colleges you haven’t even visited. Instead, make sure to visit a balance of reach, middle, and safety schools.
2. Go beyond the prescribed college visit.
Don’t limit your campus experience to the tour and orientation. While these may be informative and are worthwhile aspects of your visit, you should also go beyond them by exploring the area, speaking with students and professors, and sitting in on classes. See if you can observe activities, even informal ones such as students playing frisbee on the quad, and take a look at venues off campus.
3. If you can’t visit, research colleges thoroughly.
Some students are unable to visit every college on their initial list. If this is the case for you, make sure to research the colleges on your list thoroughly. That means reading collateral, asking current and former students for their take, looking at college boards and forums, and looking at any other materials you can find. For in-depth instructions on conducting college research, read Can’t Do a College Visit? Here’s How to Review Colleges Online and Your Step-by-Step Guide to Researching Colleges.
Junior Summer: Gearing Up for Application Season
The summer after your junior year is a time to prepare for what is bound to be a hectic senior year. Applications, course work, and extracurricular activities will make your life extremely busy, so try to fit in your campus visits now to avoid getting overwhelmed. These tips can help you get the most out of your visits and create a valuable campus experience.
For more advice on conducting campus visits, read:
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