Summer is at its peak with the latest heat wave! A time to soak up some sunshine, enjoy dinners from the grill, and…plan college visits? Although untraditional, a summer visit to a college can be a beneficial way to see a school in its quieter off-season. If you or your student are too busy to travel during a school’s academic year, visiting a school during the summer or during a break in that school’s calendar is still a great opportunity.
Who is on campus during the summer?
There will be less students on campus, but that can also be an ideal time to get to know the people that are present: students taking summer courses or living on campus while working at an internship. Be aware that you might also find high school students on campus taking academic or sports programs and this can give you an unusual picture of campus life that may make it appear significantly younger than it will look in September. Schools may also offer summer housing opportunities to international students or those who travel a far distance to attend their chosen school (something to keep in mind in your own college decision journey). Visiting during the summer may also give you a chance to chat with professors or department heads.
What resources are nearby?
Even if campus isn’t as populated as it is during the school year, nearby stores will still be open to peruse. On-campus options will likely be open as well, perhaps on a modified schedule. Ask about regular store hours during the academic year, including where to get supplies in cases of inclement weather. While chatting to students, ask about their favorite off-campus restaurants and try one out while less students are in town.
Prospective student-led time on campus
We’ve previously discussed the benefits of half-day or full-day programs during college visits so that students can fully immerse themselves on campus. Visiting during the summer can give prospective students a similar experience. Consider taking a tour together, then giving the student some time on their own to explore (set a check-in point or time before splitting up!). Less students on campus means less opportunities to become overwhelmed or distracted, and more time to focus on the logistics of the campus. This is also a great time for the prospective student to get current students’ honest opinion about their school.
Every school is unique
Something to keep in mind is that every school has a different academic calendar. Schools like Drexel University, for example, use a quarter-based schedule rather than a semester-based schedule. This means that the school is usually populated with students taking exams in mid-June, but students do not return in full until mid-to-late September. Depending on the experience that you’re looking for and the colleges on your list, you may still be able to see a busy campus during the summer and a quieter campus during the fall.
If you need some suggestions as to what schools to visit, or need some additional guidance through the college process, please consider scheduling a meeting by using our calendar link.
Stay Cool and Enjoy,
Neal Schwartz, Owner
College Planning of Westchester
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