Should I visit US colleges?

Posted on 17th October 2022

Visiting colleges

Now that the travel restrictions brought about by the pandemic are beginning to ease, students thinking about studying abroad internationally have the option to visit colleges that interest them. The USA is a big country and visiting colleges there is a big undertaking, so it’s good to think through your plans, what you hope to gain from the experience, and how the experience could add value to your application.

Should I visit?

Taking an international trip to visit colleges is a big investment of time and money, and US admissions officers will know that students from abroad may not be able to visit. So, it won’t be held against you at all if you don’t. However, if you do have the means to make the trip, it can be a valuable experience.

If you visit a college, this doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be admitted, though: the main value of college visits is that they give you a first-hand experience of what attending that college, and taking part in the culture of the college and the local area, would be like. US colleges are very different from UK secondary schools and universities, and the US has a very different culture to the UK, so being at your dream school in person can help you decide if it’s really the best fit for you.

How to visit

To visit a US college, first you should contact their admissions office to set up a visit. Schools with lots of US applicants will often organise campus tours, but if yours doesn’t, it’s completely fine to organise visits on your own. A college visit will generally consist of an information session led by an admissions professional and a campus tour led by a student (often these are organised back-to-back on the same day).

Where to go

It’s a good idea to visit your top choice colleges if you can, but a college visit can also open your eyes to options you hadn’t previously considered. If you know you’re interested in a particular geographic area, you can find several colleges there and visit them all (even if you’ve never heard of some of them!). The Northeast US is very popular with international students, and there are lots of colleges around NYC and Boston, from the well-known Columbia and Harvard, to the lesser-known but excellent Fordham and Suffolk. It’s also a good idea to build some variety into your itinerary – don’t just visit highly selective, mid-size private research universities! Have a look at schools of all sizes including smaller liberal arts colleges, public and private, and less selective as well as selective.

What to look for from a visit

Doing some preparation for your college visit will help it pay off. Think about what you’re looking for from a university, and formulate some concrete ways to investigate this on your visit. For example, what questions could you ask your tour guide? (First, make sure these aren’t answered on the college’s website.)

Would you be able to see sports facilities, stay in a dorm (halls), or visit a student support organisation that deals with a concern or interest that you have? If you’re curious about academics, could you sit in on a class, or visit a library? What about meeting a professor or a financial aid officer? Don’t hesitate to reach out to an admissions officer with these questions before your visit, as some colleges can arrange these options.

Also, use your powers of observation. When you’re on a tour, have a look round at the students. Do they seem very focused on studying and heading to class, or do you see more students chatting on the quad than in the library? Do you see lots of faculty members enjoying campus as well, or lots of people playing sport and working out? Does this match your view of your best fit college?

How your visit can add value to your application

Visiting a US college will help guide you on your search for your best fit colleges. It can also show demonstrated interest . Demonstrated interest is a quality many US colleges look for from applicants, and refers to you showing a college that you’re interested in attending. Visiting in person and making a good impression can definitely do this!

Alternatives to in person visits

It can be difficult to make the journey to visit US colleges, and they will understand this. If you’re not able to visit in person, this helpful link from Notre Dame’s admissions office can give you advice on what to do when you can’t visit in person. You can also take virtual campus tours of many US universities: Youvisit is a great online resource to do this.

If you’re thinking about visiting US universities, our college counselling team can help advise on this. You can reach out to us at for more information!

Back To Blog »
Site Map | Terms | Safety | Privacy | Covid-19Web Design By Toolkit Websites