I do think my daughter learned some things about herself and what she wanted on college visits -- but it happened that way only because she was traveling alone...there's a lot of value to the dry run experience of doing it solo)
CM, I think it depends on dynamic between parents & student. We didn't ask embarrassing questions and often we split up during a visit but we were, as a trio, very business-like on comparing notes and cross-checking impressions.
: NYU was the one school that evoked the "Get me out of here, we're not taking the tour" response
THe problem has become that with some schools you pretty much must visit to get in
it would not be a "shut out" from not visiting. But it CAN make a difference in certain schools.
it's too strong to say,"You won't get in if you don't visit.", but when the admission director tells you, "visit, visit, visit" as your GC says the same, if you can, do. Especially if it is a top choice. IF it puts true burden, let them know of your interest.