Visiting Colleges? Daytripper University Has a Curriculum for Success

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If parenthood is more a marathon than a sprint, then the college application process is that final uphill mile when the finish line looks so close but getting there feels like it might just kill you. Between the grades, the tests, the applications, the essays, the visiting colleges and the finality of it all, there is no way to feel anything other than overwhelmed and anxious 90 percent of the time, with short bouts of acute fear tossed in for good measure.


Luckily, the website Daytripper University can help ease your nerves when it comes to campus visits. Begun last year by Bonnie Klein and Liora Yalof, two veterans of the college application process and the brains behind the travel website Daytripper365, Daytripper University offers travelers suggestions for what to do if they have a day to spend on campus.


We all know that the best travel advice comes from word of mouth—friends or acquaintances who have previously visited the destination or the natives who call that place home. Who among us doesn’t hop on social media and start asking for hotel, restaurant and activity recommendations two seconds after we reserve our flights? Bonnie and Liora knew this too and have been collecting anecdotal information on Daytripper365 for a few years now. After one too many college visits during which they settled for a soggy pizza dinner in an unfamiliar college town, they realized that they could provide parents and families with this valuable service as a way to help them become familiar with more than the bookstore location on each campus they visited. 


Relying on a network of parents, locals and, most importantly, current students, Bonnie and Liora have compiled short guides for where to stay, what to eat, what to do and, critically, where to get your morning coffee on 90+ campuses. Additionally, the site provides advice from college students and parents, resources for the whole family, videos featuring students on campus and best of all (at least for your kid), amazing care package ideas. They also have parent-to-parent advice for those who are either in the middle of or just starting a college search, including these seven things you can do to enjoy yourself and, at the very least, preserve your sanity during this sometimes-harrowing process:


  1. Plan Ahead. There are a number of factors that go into the planning of a college tour. Travel time and number of schools to be visited has to be closely calibrated to school holidays or exam days, campus information and tour times, meetings with faculty or class visits, and then all of that has to somehow coordinate with your overbooked life. The good news is that Daytripper University will make your decisions regarding lodging and food easy. Because something in this process should be.

  2. Spend the Day. Bonnie and Liora recommend that the optimal duration for a campus visit is a day. That way, not only can you attend the information session and the campus tour, but you can take the time to do the important work of speaking with the students. Chat them up in the student center, the bookstore, the quad or the dining halls. Have your child attend a class and/or meet with faculty. Let your kid (gulp!) attend a party so they get a feeling for what the students are like in their natural habitat.  

  3. Let your kid take the lead. Let them strike up the conversations and ask the tour guide questions while you bring up the rear. But what if you and your kid agree that you just aren’t feeling it on a particular campus? Stay through the information session since you went through the trouble to get there, but don’t feel obligated to stay longer. Take the opportunity to grab a good lunch before heading on to your next destination, then cross that campus off your list.

  4. Get to know more than the campus. This is your kid’s home for four years, so if your kid is a big foodie or can’t live without regular exposure to art or music or the great outdoors, it’s wise to take this into account during a campus visit. Kids who need a lot of culture might not thrive on a campus in the middle of nowhere. Likewise, a kid who wants to hike and mountain bike could start to feel a little claustrophobic in a city.

  5. Make the most of it. Bonnie and Liora are advocates for making college visits into family trips. As parents whose nests are emptying, they know the value of spending quality time with these soon-to-be grads. Plane and car rides are a great time for listening as your child processes and evaluates campuses and slipping in a side visit or two to attractions or areas of interest helps make the trips more fun and less stressful.

  6. Do what’s right for you. Some families choose to bring siblings along on the trips, some don’t. Some families start earlier than the suggested junior year, some wait until senior year. Some families wait until their kids are accepted at a school before visiting. There isn’t just one right way to do a college search. Listen to your gut, know your kid and your family situation and do whatever works for you.

  7. Remember the proverbial oxygen mask. Take time to care for yourself. Whether that’s pampering yourself at that great new hotel right next to campus or treating yourself to a splurge dinner after a long day of touring, know that, for most people, it all seems to work out. It doesn’t always seem like it will, but in the end, it does.


Visit Daytripper University for more information about the schools you want to visit and Daytripper365 for one-day itineraries around the world.

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