When Is the Best Time to Visit a College? (The Earlier The Better)

If you're like most students, you may not start to think about visiting colleges until you are a junior or you may even wait to pack in all your visits in your senior year right before applying to colleges.

However, students who begin to visit schools in their freshman year or even earlier are at a considerable advantage to their peers.


Not only does visiting a school early begin you thinking early about what it is you want out of a college, it also puts you on the radar of college admissions officers as a serious student who has expressed interest early.

College admissions officers know that most students apply to 8-10 schools and some much more than that. This means for every senior who visits campus or sends in an application there is only a 1 in 10 chance that the student will actually choose that school to enroll.

College Admissions officers also know that students who engage much earlier are much more likely to consider that school as a top choice. This means they are looked on much more favorably when it comes time to admissions.

Students who have demonstrated a serious interest in the school have an advantage over their peers in admissions and often receive better financial aid packages as well. 

Good for you & good for the colleges.

We here at College Factual are all about finding the right fit when it comes to colleges. The sooner a student begins thinking about colleges and exploring their options, the more time they will have to make a good decision. They will also be more likely to make a wise decision, choosing the school that is the best fit for them.

What do I do now?

Easy. No matter what your age, ask your parents now to plan a visit with you to a college of interest.

If you haven't even begun a list of colleges you are interested in yet, start with College Match to quickly come up with a list of your best matches based on your preferences.

Do some research ahead of time. Be sure to look at graduation rates, admissions standards, tuition, and average financial aid.

Make a list of questions to ask on the tour. The fact that you came up with questions to ask ahead of time will likely knock the socks off of your tour guide or any admissions officers you interact with.

Here's a sampling of some questions you can ask:

  • How large are the classes?
  • How available are professors to meet with students outside of class?
  • Are there research opportunities I can get involved with?
  • How many students complete internships related to their major or desired career?

You can also check out the following resources for more tips on a good college tour experience: