Ideally, you should try to visit all of the colleges that you plan on applying to. While that is not always realistic try to visit at least your top four or five colleges.
When you do visit a college try to do so when there are students on campus. Spring break is often a good time for high school students to visit campuses. Most college campuses feel very different when the students are not present. While summer visits are popular because high school students have time off so do most college students. If you do a summer visit, try to visit again when their are students present.
If you can’t visit a college before applying then it is even more important to visit before making your acceptance decisions. Not visiting a college before deciding to attend is often a mistake because the best way to get the feel of a college is to actually be present on the campus. Attending a college without knowing if it is a good fit for you is a common reason that students end up transferring.
If there is no way to visit because of financial considerations, use every resouce possible to get a feel for the colleges. Go to each college’s website to see if the college has a video tour available to watch. Although not as good as actually being on campus, video tour’s can give you a better feel for a campus than just reading about the college. There are also companies like Collegiate Choice that have taped college tours for many colleges and if they have a tour of the college you are considering you might want to purchase the video. Also, see if there is an opportunity to talk with a current student to answer your questions about the college.
Visiting is one more way to get information about your college to help you find the best college for your needs.