Are you visiting colleges over the February break? Smart! Most colleges are in session in February, so you will be visiting during a time when you can look around and see whether you can imagine yourself fitting in with the student population.

Athena Advises

Most importantly, you can ask the office of admissions whether you can visit a class. This is one of the best ways to learn about a college! You usually need to arrange this in advance, because not every course is suitable for visitors. Even if the professor would be happy to have you, the class may be having a test that day.

But don’t give up too soon! Some colleges even post a long list of classes that welcome visitors. You can search the list by department, and choose a class in a field that interests you. You may even discover a topic you might not have imagined!

Remember that lecture classes are more likely to accommodate visitors. This doesn’t mean there are no small classes or seminars. And don’t write off a college because of one lecture that is over your head.

Once again, look around at the student body. Do they look prepared and alert? Are they taking notes? Or is their attention clearly elsewhere?

I will never forget the report by one of my own students, who returned from visiting a certain college to say, “The professor’s lecture was actually fascinating–but the students seemed more interested in sizing up one another’s handbags.”

So if your school has a February break, visit colleges! The students will not be there over spring break, or in the summer.

And the weather will never be worse. 🙂 This can be an important consideration, especially if you are thinking of attending university in the American Midwest or in Canada. Wherever you go in the Northern Hemisphere, if the college appeals to you in the dreariest days of February, you can be sure it will capture your heart in the spring and fall.


Dr. Marlena Corcoran
Founder and CEO