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My Top 10 Tips for Your Spring Break College Tour

The Harbersons are counting down the days until Spring Break. I'm not sure we're going away, but I'm praying we can soak up some much-needed family time. For families who have high school age kids, Spring Break often means less kiddie-pool time (like me) and more college visits. 

For those families who feel lost in planning a college tour for Spring Break, here are some essential tips for visiting colleges this time of year.

1. Make sure the college is in session.

Just as this is a popular time for high school spring breaks, the same goes for colleges. It's always better to visit a college when students are going to class and bustling around campus.

2. Reservations may be needed.

Sign up for a campus tour and information session at the very least. Online registration can be found on the admissions office's website.

3. Be prepared for large crowds.

The kiddie pool will be busy for parents of young kids like me, but the admissions offices will be even busier for families like yours.

4. Don't just visit "reach" colleges!

These colleges have very low acceptance rates and oftentimes don't even "count" that you visited. 

5. Add at least one "target" college and a "likely" college to every trip you take.

Many of these schools track demonstrated interest and absolutely "count" if you visit. 

6. Take notes on every college you visit.

They start to run together after a few days on the road. The notes will help students as they narrow down their college list and write supplemental essays in the future.

7. Don't worry about interviews this early in the process.

Even if a college offers on-campus interviews (and many don't), students need a little more time to figure out what they want and how to present themselves in an interview setting.

8. Try to do one extra thing on campus before you leave.

Visiting the bookstore is a popular destination. But eating a meal, sitting in the middle of campus when classes are switching, or meeting up with a student you know who attends the school will give you more insight into whether the college will remain on the list.

9. Go as a family!

If mom, dad, or even younger siblings can come along, do it. You won't regret this time together. 

10. Just take it all in.

No need to ask a million questions during the information session or tour, or plan out every last class you would take. This is usually the first of many visits to a school, especially if the student ends up applying. 

RELATED READING: 6 Questions You Need Answers to During Your Campus Visit

If you want to learn more about how I define reach, target, and likely schools to build a well-balanced college list or you need help building your college list, consider joining Application Nation. Before I hit the kiddie pool with my family in a few weeks, I have plenty of college lists to review for my Application Nation families. But all of us will have peace of mind going into our Spring Breaks knowing that their college lists are in good shape. Make sure your college list is spot on to get the most out of your Spring Break college tour.