Four Students Smiling Near Boatwright Hill

Making the Most of Your College Road Trip

August 29, 2023
A post by Rachel Ristow, Associate Director of Admission

Let’s be honest. Richmond’s campus is beautiful any time of year, but there’s something especially magical about fall. Maybe it’s the nostalgia of back to school, or the changing leaves on one of the country’s most beautiful campuses! Regardless of the reason, it is a wonderful time to welcome visitors from all over the country and the world to campus.

Know before you go.

Colleges have added a lot of ways to engage virtually with admission counselors, current students, and faculty. Consider taking advantage of some of these virtual options. When you get to campus, you’ll have a better sense of place and be prepared with more in-depth questions. You’ll also get to see some familiar faces, so please say hi!

Ask questions - good questions.

Speaking of good questions, never be embarrassed to ask those burning questions during your visit. We love questions! Truly!

The key is asking the right questions. If you can easily find it on our website – do that research ahead of time. The tour is short and we want you to maximize your time with us. Instead of asking, “What’s the average class size?”, ask the tour guide to talk about their biggest or smallest class. Or in place of asking about student-to-faculty ratio, ask them to speak about their favorite professor, or a time that a faculty member went above or beyond to help them. Questions like these will help you get below the surface and provide you with more meaningful answers.

Start journaling.

We are going to pack A LOT of information into a 2-hour campus visit, ranging from application tips to student stories. However, after a couple of campus visits, some if this information may start to blur together. Before you leave campus, take a few minutes to jot down the things you loved and the items you still have questions about – like what is a Triceragoose? (Hint: every Richmond tour guide is prepared with this answer!).

Park it.

Before or after your planned visit, leave some time to explore on your own. Find a bench (or in Richmond’s case an Adirondack chair), sit down, and do some quality people-watching. You will be amazed at how much you can learn about a school community just by watching. This is a really great way to get a feel for who the students are and how they interact. Let’s face it, most colleges and universities offer many of the same things. So, it’s good to set aside some time to process all the intangible elements. The vibes, if you will.

Wear appropriate clotthes and shoes for long walks. 

I don’t think this needs much explanation. Just remember; dress in layers, pack an umbrella, and wear those sneakers. A blister on day 1 of your week-long trip is not fun!

The most important thing to remember – be present. The college search can be a really stressful time. Add a road trip visiting multiple colleges while you are trying to study for that quiz next week and everyone in the car might be dealing with a case of the “Sunday Scaries. But remember, this is also such a special time. Center yourself on the reason you’re visiting all these campuses and hotel lobbies. Enjoy the trip and the time spent with your family. We can’t wait to see you here at Richmond, and will be ready to greet you with smiles – and of course, coffee!