What’s the Best Time to Tour a University?
You can learn plenty about a university by visiting its website, finding out what majors, sports, and activities it offers, and reading accounts from former and present students. However, it’s difficult to know if you’ll enjoy spending your days at a particular university unless you pay the campus a visit. There are certain days of the week and times of the year when a tour of a university is ideal.
Before You Send Applications
The first tour you take should be before the deadline to apply. This will ensure you don’t end up applying to any universities that you later decide you don’t like. You may find some schools just don’t resonate with you (perhaps for no reason you can identify), whereas you’ll likely feel a connection to others straight away.
Visiting on a Weekday
To gain a feel for what it would be like to study at a particular university, it’s best to go during the week when classes are taking place. Monday to Thursday is better than Friday, as faculty and students are more likely to be busy on Friday afternoons, preparing for their social activities.
Ideally, you should try to attend on a day when your high school has a holiday but university classes are taking place as normal. This will mean there’s no need to skip a day of school.
Spring, Summer, or Winter
You may like to visit in the spring while you are still in Grade 11, especially if you need to apply early for any reason. However, most high school students wait until right before they start Grade 12 and visit in early September. You may prefer to wait longer, though, and take a tour in early winter when you already have a better idea of what schools you are interested in.
Taking a Second Visit
When a university sends you an acceptance letter, you may also receive an invitation to visit the campus again. This will give you the chance to ask more questions and help you come to a final decision. It’s best not to rely on these visits alone, as you’ll only have a short period of time to take the tours before you need to reply.
Worst Times to Go
Never make any assumptions that a particular day is fine to visit a university. Always call in advance or check the calendar on the university’s website to ensure the date is suitable. The last thing you want is to arrive only to find it’s a holiday for the university, exams are taking place, or it’s reading week.
Bear in mind that universities won’t be in session over Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Canada Day, Thanksgiving, Labour Day, Family Day, Victoria Day, Civic Holiday, and any floater days. Plus, you may be unable to talk with admission officers if you come in April or May, as they’ll be reviewing applications. Finally, you should find out when winter and spring breaks take place and only visit over summer break if you know that the university holds a summer session.
Touring a university is also the perfect time to check out accommodation. If you’re looking at apartments near McMaster, make sure you check out West Village Suites. At walking distance from campus, the student housing offers everything you need on site, including WiFi, study spaces, and a games room. Book your tour to coincide with your visit to McMaster University.