Planning a College Road Trip
by Lee Wyatt
(last updated September 1, 2020)
Are you, or a loved one, going off to school soon? Before you make your final decision about where to go, make sure that you actually visit the school. To be truly effective, a college road trip such as this needs some careful planning. Planning a college road trip doesn't need to be all that difficult. Simply follow these guidelines, and you will soon find that you have everything taken care of. Everything that is, except for the final decision of where to go.
- Make a list of colleges. In order to begin planning a college road trip, you need to first make a list of colleges that you intend on visiting. This doesn't need to be a list of every single college that you have applied to, but rather colleges that you are seriously considering. In order to keep your travel expenses and time to a minimum, try to limit the number of colleges to around 5.
- Contact those colleges. Contact each of the colleges that you plan on visiting, and see when they have "visit days." These are days when they have planned visits for all prospective students, schedule tours, and even allow you to stay the night in dorm rooms. However, if you are not able to attend on those particular days, then plan for another time.
- Decide when to go. Most of the colleges should have their visit days around the same time frame, so picking a date for your visits shouldn't be too difficult. However, if you are going to be visiting the colleges at a different time, then try to set your visits at as close of a time as possible to each other.
- Schedule an appointment with admissions. Before going to visit the college, schedule an appointment with admissions. This will enable you to put a face to the people who will be handling your application, as well as give you a first hand account of what you will need to do to get into the college.
- Schedule a tour. At the same time that you are contacting admissions, schedule a tour of the campus. This will give you an opportunity to see exactly where your classes will be, as well as other important sites on campus, without getting lost.
- Prepare a list of questions. Before you go on your college road trip, take time to prepare a list of questions that you want to ask at each school. These should be questions that you not only ask the admissions officer, but also any students that you have the opportunity to talk to. Keep in mind that while you are going to be applying to go to the school, they should also be competing to get you as a student.
- Prepare and use an itinerary. Before leaving on your trip, make an itinerary of where you will be going, how long you plan on staying there, and so on. If possible, get an itinerary from the schools that you will be visiting, that way you can plan your trip a little bit better.
- Don't forget to make lodging arrangements. Do not forget to make lodging arrangements before you go on your college road trip. Often campuses have their visiting days around the same time, and this can make lodging a tad difficult to find. Do not rely on their being any openings when you get to that town. Rather, make your reservations before hand.
- Make note of your impressions. When on your visit, carry around a notebook that you can use as a visit diary. Write down your impressions, experiences, and answers to questions for later review. It is often hard or difficult to recall your feelings and impressions clearly later on. This way, you have something that you can record your experiences while they are still fresh in your mind.