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5 Tips for Your College Visit Roadtrip

Are you ready for a family roadtrip?  Spring break is a great time to hop in the car with your high school junior and learn about colleges by visiting campuses.  Researching colleges and discovering what you like doesn’t have to be a chore.  Whether you’re checking out one college or ten, driving five miles or five hundred, it’s important to plan ahead so you can have a smooth and enjoyable trip.

  1. Navigate like a pro. Check the campus website for directions and tour hours a few weeks ahead of time.  Some schools will want you to sign up for a tour in advance, especially during busy vacations.  Plot your driving route online with a tool like Google Maps, paying attention to how long it will take to get there.  Add in extra time for traffic, pit stops, and getting lost.  Make sure you check out the campus map to find out where visitors can park and how to get to the admissions office or visitor center from there.

  2. Plan for comfort.  Check the weather forecast and make sure you’re dressed appropriately.  Wear shoes that are good for walking, bring rain gear if necessary, and dress in layers in case it’s warmer or cooler than you expect.  Bring water and healthy snacks to keep your energy levels up.

  3. The more, the merrier.  If there are younger kids in your family, consider bringing them along to give them a sneak peek at campus life.  But depending on their age, don’t expect them to stay attentive for hours of college information, so plan some alternate activities.

  4. Pace yourself.  Don’t try to rush around and visit too many colleges in one trip.  A thorough visit with a tour, information session, and informal exploration may take up 3 hours.  And leave time for processing what you’ve learned about each school before you move on to the next one, or else it may all blur together.  Write down your impressions on our College Application Manager.

  5. Enjoy the journey.  During the drive, enjoy the scenery as trees shake off the winter blahs and start putting out their pretty leaves.  Search online for road trip activities like a scavenger hunt to pass the time.  Make a special family playlist so you have music to enjoy together.  On the drive back, share your opinions and talk about what you enjoyed most about each stop.

For college-bound families, the spring season of campus visits is a rite of passage.  It can also be a time to create lasting memories together.  With some careful planning, the college visit roadtrip can be a once-in-a-lifetime family adventure.

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