Choosing a college can be both an exciting and stressful time in a person’s life. Maybe you’ve been set on a school since you were little or maybe you are stuck between a myriad of choices. If the latter sounds like, why not consider a college road trip! If you’ve ever seen the movie “College Road Trip” starring Raven Symone, Martin Lawrence, Brenda Song, and Donny Osmond, you’ll know that basically, a college road trip is just a trip visiting colleges you’re interested in. However, by road tripping with your friends and/or family, you also get to make some meaningful memories with the ones closest to you. So, here are some ways you can prepare for a college road trip!

*NOTE: Due to the ever-changing guidelines surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand that there may be travel restrictions and/or campuses may be closed to on-site visitation. We do not suggest violating any of the health guidelines or recommendations given by federal and state mandates.

  1. Make a list of schools you’re interested in – You can’t plan a road trip without knowing the destinations. Sit down and think about what schools you want to attend. Do you want to stay close to home or move across the country? Pick a few schools in locations you’d be interested in and start planning your road trip. Before you go, many campuses offer virtual tours, so you can preview everything before deciding to see it in person. Try to make sure you pick schools that are in the same region. You probably don’t want to visit UCLA and NYU on the same trip. However, maybe you really enjoy cross-country road tripping. If yes, go for it!
  2. Pack! – You might be on the road for a few days so make sure you pack your essentials. Beyond a change of clothes, remember your toothbrush and toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, ect. 
  3. Landmarks/Sightseeing – Since you’re already road tripping, map out some landmarks you can check out! Why not take advantage of the road trip by going sightseeing. This will also give you a great opportunity to check out the area around campus. For example, if you’re visiting a school in the Chicago area, you might want to check out “The Bean” but also try to check out places like Greektown! There are some great restaurants there! This will help you become familiar with the culture of the area surrounding the university. 

  1. Hotel stops? – If you plan to be on the road for a good amount of time, decide whether or not you will need to stop at a hotel for the night or for a few days. Make sure to find hotels that don’t detour too far from your travels. Also, make sure there is vacancy because you don’t want to stop at a hotel and find out there are no empty rooms. 
  2. Is school in session? – Visiting campus is a lot different during the semester vs a semester break. If you are visiting in the summer, however, it’s possible there are students taking classes. Be aware that if you are going during a semester break, you might not be able to get the full experience of what student life is really like. You’d still be able to explore campus, and likely more freely if students are on break. 
  3. What do you want to know? – Have you chosen a major? Does the school offer the program you’re interested in? Are you interested in participating in sports? Decide what is most important to you when it comes to choosing a school. Remember, while the road trip is fun, it’s main purpose is to help you narrow down what schools you want to apply to and eventually, enroll in!

It’s hard to choose a school, but hopefully a college road trip can make that decision a little easier for you. In addition to that, you also get to spend time with the people who matter most to you and you get to share with them the experience of making such a huge decision in your life. You might find that the decision is easier with their guidance!

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