This month, many high school students from across the country will receive a well-deserved respite from the rigors of academic life. While I wouldn’t deny anyone the opportunity to spend some of their break in front of PlayStation 4 or simply hanging out with family and friends, high school juniors should seriously consider using at least a few vacation days for university and college visits. Even sophomores can get into the action; starting early to determine your most basic college likes and dislikes can help ease some of the pressure as you near senior year.

Not sure where to begin?

If you’re not exactly certain what type of schools fit you best, take a look at our sample itineraries below. Each grouping includes colleges of various sizes, campus settings, admission selectivity, and overall “feel.” After visiting just a few of the options below, you should begin to develop a stronger sense of your perfect school. And remember, colleges are not one-size-fits-all. Everyone’s dream school is different!

(Of course, these are very broad suggestions that do not include every school in the designated region. Once you’ve had the opportunity to visit a few schools and narrow down your options, you can plan more targeted college road trips.)

Baltimore to Washington, DC: Goucher College, Towson University, Loyola University Maryland, University of Maryland College Park, Catholic University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, American University

Boston: Suffolk University, Emerson College, MIT, Northeastern University, Boston College, Bentley College, Brandeis University, Babson College, Wellesley College

Chicago: Lake Forest College, Northwestern University, DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, University of Chicago

Florida: University of Miami, Lynn University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Southern University, University of Tampa, Eckerd College

New York City: Wagner College, Pace University, New York University, Barnard College, Columbia University, Fordham University, Manhattan College

North Carolina: Davidson College, Wake Forest University, High Point University, Guilford College, Elon University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Duke University

Northern California: Mills College, University of California Berkeley, St. Mary’s College, University of San Francisco, Stanford University, Santa Clara University

Philadelphia: Temple University, Saint Joseph’s University, University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Swarthmore College, Haverford College, Bryn Mawr College, Villanova University, Ursinus College

Southern California: University of Redlands, Pitzer College, Caltech, Occidental College, Loyola Marymount University, University of California Los Angeles, Chapman University

Texas: Rice University, Trinity University, University of Texas Austin, Baylor University, Southern Methodist University, Texas Christian University

Upstate New York: Vassar College, Skidmore College, Hamilton College, Colgate University, Syracuse University, Cornell University, Ithaca College, Binghamton University

Is your family already planning a spring vacation? Run a quick college search on CollegeBoard.org and narrow your options based on zip code under the “location” tab. Whether you’re visiting grandma in Florida or an uncle in the Pacific northwest, you’re sure to find great colleges to visit nearby.

Where will you be headed this April? Comment below with your itinerary, or feel free to ask a question about making the most of college visits.



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Written by Elyse Krantz
Elyse Krantz is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions experts. Elyse received her BA in linguistics from Dartmouth College and her MA from Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to joining College Coach, Elyse worked as an admissions officer at Barnard College and Bennington College.