How To Schedule College Visits

How To Schedule College Visits
A smiling mid adult female doctor listens as a female patient discusses her health.

All is not lost if you can’t visit in person. You can still:

Campus Visits: Know Before You Go

You can only tell so much from colleges’ websites and brochures. By spending time on campus, you can speak in person with an admissions officer as well as students and get a good idea of what academic and social life are like there. When it’s time to choose a college to attend, you’ll be better prepared to make an informed decision.

Arrange a Campus Visit

All colleges have admissions offices that can help you plan your visit. Your high school may organize group tours of nearby colleges. And you can plan your own informal visit to a college campus. Take these important steps first:

  • Visit the college’s admissions website to get details about arranging for an in-person visit.
  • Check with your school counselor to see if any campus tours are scheduled.
  • Set aside time to be on your own. Walk around the public area.

What to Expect When You Get on Campus

Campus visits can range from a quick hour to an overnight stay and from a casual guided tour to a formal presentation. Be sure to ask how long the whole visit will take so that you can be prepared.

Most campus visits will include the following:

  • An information session, during which an admissions representative talks to you or your group about the college before the campus tour.
  • A campus tour: These are usually led by college students. You’ll see the main parts of the campus and have a chance to ask questions.

At many colleges, you can also arrange to:

  • Attend a class.
  • Meet with a professor.
  • Meet with an admissions officer.
  • Meet with a financial aid officer.
  • Attend a club meeting or sports practice session.
  • Eat in a dining hall.
  • Spend the night in a dorm to experience student life.

Get Ready for Your Campus Tour

Before your visit, you need to prepare. It’s a good idea to do these things:

  • Explore the college’s official website, and review any materials the college has sent you. This will help you come up with questions specific to that college.
  • Make a list of questions to ask both staff and students. You can use our Campus Visit Checklist as a starting point.
  • Explore the map of the college campus and make a note of where the admissions office is so you’ll know where you’re going. This will help ensure that you’re on time for your visit.

When you’re ready to go, remember to:

  • Take notes in your phone or notebook so that you don’t forget the details of your collegiate trips.
  • Take pictures so that you can remember what the campus looks like.
  • Compare the colleges that you visit by using the Campus Visit Score Card.

What to Do if You Can’t Make an In-Person Campus Visit

All is not lost if you can’t visit in person. You can still:

  • Check the admissions website to see if they have virtual campus tours or events.
  • Talk to students who currently attend the college.
  • Go online to see if the college has a newspaper you can read.
  • View Campus Reel videos on BigFuture.

How To Schedule College Visits

Once you’ve decided which colleges you’ll be visiting with your student, it’s time to schedule the visit. Here are a few things you should do before you head out on your big trip to be sure you’re making the most of the time you have there:


Here’s the general how-to on scheduling your college tour.

1. Go to the college’s website, and click on the “Admissions” tab.

2. If it’s a university where graduate programs are option, be sure to go to undergraduate admissions.

3. Click on the “Visit” or “Visiting Campus” tab.

4. Choose the right option for your visit—e.g., Daily Visit, Weekend Visit (if offered).

5. Check the calendar for an available day that you can attend, and click on the day.

6. Fill out the required information—e.g., name, address, school and graduation year, academic interests, etc.

7. If you have the time, sign up for everything else they offer, including a class visit, specific majors information sessions, lunch, a meeting with a professor or coach, and more.

9. Check for a confirmation email. If you don’t receive one within 24 hours, make sure to contact the admissions department to check that your request was received.

If you’re only able to sign up for a tour, call the admissions office to ask if there’s anything else available. You’re probably only visiting each school once, so you want to pack in as much as possible. Ideally, your student will be able to observe a class, meet with either a student or a professor (or both!), and chat with the admissions representative for your area of the country.

You should plan on an information session at each school. Often, the information session is part of the tour, but if it’s not, be sure to sign up separately. It’s generally led by an admissions staff member, and it’s a great chance to learn about the school’s application and financial aid processes.


The things we just mentioned—tour, information session, meetings—are core to every student’s college visit. But it’s also important to personalize your time at the school.

Does your student intend to major in chemistry or English? Plan to check out a chem lab or the writing center. Do they want to try out for the swim team? Visit the school’s pool. Are they thinking about joining the school’s volunteer organization? Attend a meeting. You can find information about facilities, organizations, and personnel on the school’s website, so do your research and make a list of things you know you want to do on campus.


Sites like Campus Tours and eCampusTours provide virtual tours of hundreds of colleges and universities. These are by no means substitutes for actual college tours, but they can highlight specific campus attractions and help you plan your trip. For example, you might see a sculpture garden with outdoor workspace you didn’t know existed and decide to explore it as part of your visit.

Maddie Otto

By Maddie Otto

Maddie is a second-year medical student at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney and one of Level Medicine’s workshop project managers. Prior to studying medicine, she worked and studied as a musician in Melbourne. She has a background in community arts, which combined her love for both the arts and disability support. She is an advocate for intersectional gender equity, and is passionate about accessibility and inclusive practice within the healthcare system.