Part of the college admissions process is the treasured ‘road trip’. Every year thousands of parents and students plan out road trips to check out various campuses they’re interested in. If you’re not sure how to make your trip effective, we’ve got you covered with our own college road trip tips.
Before setting out in your car, use these five college road trip tips to efficiently plan what to do with your time along the way.
Write Your Itinerary
Have a clear plan of where you’re going and what you’re doing.
Road trips can get disorganized a couple of days in because of the constant hustle of moving around. That’s why it’s helpful to put together a comprehensive itinerary before driving out.
Do your research and include the following information:
- Campus street addresses
- Parking information
- Travel order
- Hotel arrangements
Have both hard copies available and keep it on your phone or tablet too. When traveling, just check your itinerary and relax. You’ll avoid the stress of trying to remember where you need to go, when you need to arrive, and where to park.
Write down whatever you can for future reference.
Write down things like:
- Admissions officer names
- Specific programs of interest
- Clubs you want to join
Literally, take notes about everything that made an impression on you. The reason being that you can use that information when applying about why you want to attend.
The more details you can share, the more admissions officials will see you’ve invested in their school. The more personal investment you show, the more those officials will want to consider your application.
Engage With Everyone
Talk to whomever you can!
It can feel intimidating to go up to perfect strangers and grill them for information…but that’s what they’re there to provide. Don’t be afraid to walk around and engage with:
- Tour guides
- Admissions representatives
- Current students
Ask your tour guides specifically about what their experience has been like at that school. Do they like it? Do they have personal recommendations about clubs or majors?
Don’t feel that you have to be quiet and polite. Ask your questions because this is exactly the time to do it. Everyone there will give you answers as long as you ask first.
Take Plenty Of Pictures
Get as much photographic evidence as you can for each visit.
After a few days of constant driving and visiting, the whole experience will become a blur. To remember everything clearly, take out your phone and start snapping pictures. Take pictures of features like:
- Dining halls
- Major cross-streets
- Bulletin boards
The more pictures you take, the better sense you’ll have of the campus’ physical layout and it’ll trigger memories easier.
Those memories and impressions will help when whittling down your application choices. If anything else, you’ll have a great photo album that you can look back on in the future.
Save Your Pamphlets
Keep every pamphlet you pick up along the way.
You’ll receive plenty of reading materials at information sessions during your tour. As much as you’ll try to take good notes at these sessions, it’s impossible to get everything down to remember.
Those pamphlets will provide:
- Important statistics
- Information on various academic programs
- Campus photographs
Does one school’s pamphlet draw particular attention to its business program? Does it emphasize it’s journalism or engineering programs instead?
Look between the lines when reviewing these documents to get impressions that you didn’t have time to register in person.
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