3 Reasons why Spring is the Absolute Best Time to Visit Colleges
Spring of junior year is, by far, the best time to visit colleges! No one, and I mean no one, likes a school when they tour it on a freezing, cold, gray, rainy day. Each school's location obviously influences its temperate season, so make sure that you take weather into account when you schedule visits. A little sunshine and a clear sky help most people approach a new experience with an open mind and a positive attitude.
Cold often keeps students inside. To see a campus in full swing, it is best to go when people are out and about. Spring on most college campuses invites students to hang out in the quad, cycle to class, or play frisbee on the lawn. Sure, you need to know about a school's academic programs but you also need to check out its social scene. It's almost impossible to get a good look at the students when they are hibernating in their dorm rooms.
High school can easily be defined as a period of evolution. Your end-of-11th-grade self is very different from your beginning-of-9th-grade self. Visiting colleges during your sophomore year is a great idea but be prepared to discover when you return a year later that what you want and need in a school has changed considerably. By the end of 11th grade, you are pretty close to the person you will be when you choose a school. Your ideas, self awareness, values and yes...academic abilities.....have had three years to develop. You know more about who you are and what you want. This puts in a better place to choose - to know what you like and don't like about a school.
Believe it or not, you will need to schedule your spring visits during the winter of Junior year. Take some time during January and February to schedule campus visits for March, April and early May. Most college campuses are empty by the second week of May when students head home for the summer. Also, most schools close for a week of spring break. Check out the academic calendar of each school on your list before scheduling to ensure that you visit when the campus is in full swing. This will allow you to learn about what the school has to offer academically, culturally and socially. It will also give you a chance to check out the students to see if you think the school is a good fit for you.