How to select colleges to visit

Hello everyone. I recently ended my sophomore year of high school and I want to start visiting schools this summer before junior year starts. Currently, I have a list of about 20 schools I’m interested in. Since it is not feasible to visit all of these schools, how should I narrow down the list of schools I visit? Keep in mind many colleges on my list are competive (I.e. Ivy League) for admission. I’ve already decided that I would like to attend a medium to large research university, preferably in a suburb (at the smallest) or large city. I live in the Northeast, so there are a lot of schools driving distance from home. Thanks

See if you can find nearby representative schools to visit - medium, large, suburban, city, etc to help trim your list by type

A few things:
–I would look at the website and/or common data set for each school (you can google common data set XYZ University) and see if any take demonstrated interest into account. I would prioritize visiting schools that will take the visits as a positive in the admissions process.
–Visit a few different types of schools in terms of size (medium, large) and location (city, suburban) to see if you have a preference.
–See if you can find schools that are easy to get to and/or a few that can be grouped together into one visit.
–If you have one or two that seem to be your favorite try to visit those.

Would you recommend visiting schools I’m not sure about or schools I definitely know I want to apply?

You can make a first cut using the internet. Go to Google maps and take a 3D or street level tour of the campus. Search youtube for campus tour videos. Many students make videos of their experience at their college.

A student on CC once asked about NYU. He said he heard that it had no real campus and was that true. Google maps 3D would have answered that question.

The approach @TomSrOfBoston recommends is great. Taking that one step further, Google the school name and select Images. Ditto the city the school is in.

I would focus on the “maybe” schools. It will help you narrow down your search.

Students give a school its “personality” and the students are gone for the most part during the summer. IMHO you’re better off taking a few mornings or days off school in the Fall to visit (chance to attend a class or two and chat with current students) than walking around the grounds during the summer to admire the pretty buildings and hear the story on the tour of the architect and the library.

Using Google maps or the equivalent to view satellite images of campuses is a great idea, as well as taking advantage of any videos or 3D tour videos the universities have on their websites. Also google “[blank] campus” on YouTube for many colleges have amateur video tours (walking, drone, etc.) done by students or others that you can watch.

After you have narrowed your list somewhat, you can do this video/map work at home to further narrow down your list to which ones you really want to walk in person.

Oh, and whatever you do, do not create a tour list of all “reaches” from your list. I would actually prioritize visiting safeties over reaches.