A personal visit to a post-secondary institution is often the most useful step in helping students and their parents decide whether or not to apply to a particular school. Students are encouraged to make use of group tours, open house events and group information sessions as a way of obtaining first-hand impressions of schools.
Visits during the regular academic year provide a more accurate view of the academic and social life of a campus, but families often make use of summer vacation to visit several schools that are at a distance. Where possible, it is a good idea to avoid the distortions of the days of registration, final exams and special campus events such as homecomings or festivals. Several high school holidays such as Columbus Day weekend or Veterans Day allow students who visit colleges to minimize the disruption to their own academic program. Typically students visit colleges either in the spring of the junior year, during the summer before senior year or in the fall of the senior year.