Preparing to visit a college campus

While online degrees abound, not everyone has given up the dream of a campus-based education. For those still interested in leaving home to get their degree, half the battle of visiting a college comes well in advance to ever setting foot on the campus. There is plenty you can do when preparing for your college campus visit before you ever leave home. Depending on the proximity of the campus to your home, you may only get one opportunity to take it all in and collect all the on-site data needed to make a decision when it comes time to choose the location of your education.

Whether you are doing internet research to find out more about the college or university you are interested in or making a list of items to pack or questions to ask once there, there are ways to make your visit more effective. With proper planning, you can take some of the stress out of visiting a college campus, enabling you better to focus on the big picture and make the most of your trip.


It can be a real time saver to pre-plan your activities ahead of arriving to campus. This can include reviewing the layout of the campus and surrounding areas to have a general feel for how to navigate the space with a minimal amount of confusion and lost time. You can make a list of places or sites you’d like to visit while there and pre-plan a route to get you to the maximum number of attractions with the least amount of difficulty. This can save you time, effort, money, and helping you to get a better feel for the campus and university.

Internet Research

The internet can be a valuable resource in researching the campus you will be visiting before you ever get there. You may be able to learn facts about the school, find a campus map, view living arrangements, see pictures of the campus, and learn about available transportation and routes to get where you want to go quickly. It can be a great idea to learn as much as you can about the college or university by way of the internet. You may even discover ahead of time that the school is not all you thought it was, thereby saving yourself the cost of a trip there.

Make a List

Don’t you hate it when you have a question you want to ask, only to forget it when the time comes, and then remember it again when the opportunity is gone? Well, you don’t want to encounter such a situation when you are on a campus tour or are meeting with a school representative. Therefore, make a list of questions, concerns, and things you want to know well in advance to your arrival on campus and be sure to bring it with you on your trip. Remember — while you might be embarrassed or feel your questions are silly, it’s better to know the answers to such questions in advance to committing to a particular school than discover too late you’ve made a poor decision.

Come Prepared

You want to be ready and comfortable during your campus tour so that you can focus your full attention on gathering pertinent information regarding the school at which you may matriculate. I mean, come on, this is your college education we’re talking about here! You don’t want to miss out on relevant information by having to duck into the campus bookstore or local drugstore to be loading up on items you’ve left behind such as a camera, a pen and notepad, backpack, etc. Also, consider the weather conditions, distance and geography you’ll be traversing, and consider packing good walking shoes, sunscreen, bottled water, a hat/visor, jacket, coat, gloves, and similar items to improve the comfort of your visit.


Trust me, I know it can be difficult to listen to your parents at times, but I bet if you dig deep in your memory bank, you’ll find some very helpful information has come from them. If your parents are accompanying you on your trip, consider utilizing them to help you maximize your time on campus. Give each of them a list of things you want them to watch for or listen for on the tour so you can focus your attention on other information. Maybe have one of them watch for security features on campus, how many university buses pass while you are walking, check for local or school eateries, gauge how far dorms are from classes, and similar items of importance. Let them be in charge of taking pictures or each of you take a camera so one person can catch something the others don’t. This is your time to decide if the school is right for you, but you can’t be expected to capture every relevant bit of information on your own.