Plan For College

Friday, January 18, 2013

How to Spend Your High School Spring Break

The Plan For College Guest Blog Post Series:
Kathryn Favaro, is the Plan For College's third guest blogger. Kathryn Favaro is a certified college admissions counselor. She empowers and motivates students and their families. She enjoys helping students learn how to best plan for college applications and guides them throughout the process. You can connect with Favaro College Counseling here.

Spring Break is right around the corner. The best way to begin your college planning is to actually visit some campuses during your break.

Here are my top 8 tips for visiting colleges during your February or March break:

1. Start locally. Take advantage of the colleges in your own backyard. There are probably a few colleges or universities within driving distance from your house.

2. Sign up for the tour and attend the admissions information session. What better way to get a feel for a campus then to have your own personal tour guide? And your best way to learn about what the college wants from applicants is to hear it straight from admissions. This is your chance to ask questions and get the tips and insight NOT available on the school’s website.

3. Talk to students who attend the college you are visiting. It's great to hear from tour guides because they're very enthusiastic about their school and they know most of the answers to the questions you will have. However, it's also a good idea to talk to other students walking around the campus who may have a more realistic opinion of the school. Ask them what the campus is like in September and April. (It may be very different than when you visit in February.) Ask them what classes and professors are like and what they like to do on the weekends.

4. Be independent. After your tour and information session, take your campus map and do some additional exploring. Check out the student center, gym, performance halls or whatever else excites you. Look for the details you may have missed on the tour.

5. Take pictures, videos and notes. You should start to tour campuses a few years before you are applying. Make notes of your impressions and observations and keep them in a college visit binder. You can use them to refresh your memory later.

6. Visit the surrounding town. When you attend a college you will probably want to explore off-campus. Take a drive through the area around the campus and get lunch or a snack at a local restaurant.

7. Be prepared. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring sunscreen, water and a jacket. Most college campuses are large and spread out. Make sure you have everything you need to enjoy yourself and feel relaxed.

8.  Be open-minded. Remember, this is your chance to see some colleges firsthand. Use this opportunity to observe, ask questions and explore. Don’t worry too much about making any final decisions yet, especially if you're not a senior. It's a good idea to visit your top college choices more than once.

Have any more questions or tips for visiting schools? Please comment below.


  1. You're right, Kathryn: Spring Break is the perfect time for a college-bound student to test the campus waters.

  2. While I feel very strongly that prospective college students should visit their top choices in person (you wouldn't buy a car before you test drove it) most families today can't afford the high costs associated with traveling to many colleges merely to rule them out. Therefore, I recommend you use technology to help whittle the list. allows college-bound families to view unbiased college video tours for free. The visuals allow you to get a good feel of the campus and culture to determine if it's even worth the trip. Money better spent on tuition and certainly much better than text based sites and propaganda. YOUniversityTV provides an all-access pass to see more than one would see on a traditional admissions tour.

    After visiting 500 top colleges across the country, the best advice I can give is to spend as much time on campus un-escorted as possible. Feel your way around. Act like you're a student. You'll know before long if it's the place for you.

    Good luck.

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