Mother and daughter walk arm-in-arm on a college tour.

How to plan for college visits

Narrowing down your choices and developing a budget can help you keep costs down.

Visiting colleges can be a big investment in both time and money. The costs can add up quickly if you aren't careful. But with a plan in place, you can potentially save yourself from unnecessary expenses and undue stress. Consider these steps to help your prospective college student plan for their upcoming college tours:

Make a list

The first step in planning for college visits is for your college-bound kid to decide which schools they are interested in. They can start by making a list of all different types of schools in different locations with programs that pique their interest.

Set your budget

How much of a budget do you have for these visits? There are a few factors to keep in mind, including the fact that local colleges are likely going to be cheaper to visit than out-of-state ones. As you review your list, keep your overall budget in mind as you figure out how much each college might cost to visit. Remember to include gas, plane tickets, food and lodging costs into your estimates.

Narrow your choices

You probably don't have the time or budget to visit every college on the list. That means narrowing down the list to something more manageable with a balance between priority schools and the budget. Consider suggesting to your prospective student that they might want to visit a mix of different types of schools to get a better sense of what small versus large or public versus private feels like.

Consider ways to save on costs

You budget for college itself, but keep in mind that you may also need funds before classes even begin. If you need to fit more visits in than your budget will allow, consider scheduling a college visit during an already planned vacation if they are in the same area. Or split the travel and lodging costs with other parents taking their kids to visit the same college. Many colleges are located near one another, so you might be able to visit two on the same trip.

Just remember that college visits are about collecting information to better inform final choices. By planning ahead, you can make the most of this exciting process.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

Neither State Farm® nor its agents provide tax or legal advice.

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