Is either vacation week better for seeing a college campus? Will students be too stressed out in April to be helpful and friendly to a visiting prospective student?
You should check with colleges about when students will be on their spring breaks. This year many colleges scrapped Feb and spring breaks altogether. Who knows what this year will be like, but I suggest you wait until, at the earliest, the start of Fall semester and ask colleges is they will be allowing students on campus for tours and such.
But to answer your question, Feb typically is much better for high school kids to visit campuses. When I did this with my two kids a few years back, we did nearly all visits in the fall, around Columbus Day weekend, or in Feb, because students were on campus.
Be aware that Feb is a popular time to visit and that it’s a good idea to book a campus tour about three weeks out if you can. And if you can’t, you can just go to campus anyway. Often tours open up because people don’t show up, and you can always do your own campus tour anyway.
TY @Lindagaf for your experience! You’re also right that I’m planning too far in advance. Which schools did you visit?
Ha. Too many. Last time I counted, I had taken my kids to over 30 colleges. A number were simple drive throughs that my kids were not considering at all, but we were near the college. For example, my son visited Ithaca College so we did a drive through at Cornell, which he did not consider. I recommend that visit because Ithaca is gorgeous.
Many families plan to visit two campuses a day. We always packed in as many as we could. For example, we’d do the first morning tour at a school, then another at lunchtime, then another in the afternoon. (Dickinson, Franklin & Marshall, Lafayette.) Once, we visited four campuses in a day. (Syracuse, Cornell, Ithaca, Binghamton, where S23 attends.) That all worked for us, but I know a lot of folks wouldn’t do that, and of course it really depends on which colleges you want to visit.
My list is:
@Lindagaf while on campus, did you go to a sporting event or performing arts performance?
Didn’t think so, but was curious. Thought it could give a sense of how the campus comes together around things like that.
The best way to get a feel for campus culture is to just hang out. We always went to a dining hall or cafe, even if it was just to get a drink or a snack. We would visit the student Union and see what fliers were posted for groups and events. If we saw students around, we walked in that direction. My son would look at all the gyms. My daughter wanted to see the libraries.
Campus tours are good. Info sessions are not that useful, IMO.
Try picking up student newspapers, too. They let you get a glimpse into whatever issues are going on.
We did a road trip in February - 2 states, 8 colleges, 5 days. Some were drive through, others were tour/info, others were bigger events. Lots of schools plan events for Presidents Day knowing high schools are closed. We made the list of contenders, D chose the one she liked best on paper to do the bigger event, and we mapped the rest out based on being there on the Monday.
We also did a shorter trip in October for Columbus Day that was a bit closer to home. We left Thursday after school, did a couple of visits on Friday and Saturday, a couple of drive by/walk around on Sunday, and another bigger planned event on Monday before heading home.
It would make sense to split them in half:
Hawaii/PNW in February
SW and East Coast in April.
Not sure where your home base is but that is a lot of flying! You could do Temple and Maryland together for sure. It would almost make sense to fly into Baltimore and take the train to each. Then you can fly to Albuquerque on Southwest.
@helpingmom40 I’m from MT. Could I fly into Phoenix or Tucson?