If you live on the east coast and your top choices are all in California, making another trip (or even a first one) might not be feasible for you. If your top choice school is relatively accessible to you, then the value of returning can’t be overstated.
You’ve seen the sights
On your first visit, it’s easy to be mesmerized by gorgeous architecture or iconic landmarks. Even after being here for over a month, I still get distracted looking at Wellesley’s own Lake Waban. However, after that initial “wow” moment on your first visit, you’re much more free to absorb the less obvious sights the second time around. It’s great if your favorite college has dorms with beautiful city scape views out the window, but you shouldn’t let that make you forget the rest of your visit, even the not so instagram-worthy parts.
Different season, different attitude on campus
Maybe your first visit was in the summer, and there was not much going on around campus. Or, maybe when you visited the school was abuzz with activities and events. Regardless, it can never hurt to experience the place you could potentially be living under slightly different circumstances. This is your chance to see campus the week before midterms, for example. Is everyone holed up in their rooms studying? Is there an atmosphere of panic? If you get vibes as good as the ones you felt on your first visit, they can only help you feel more confident in your decision. This especially goes for anyone who visited the first time during any kind of special prospective student day. You want to be sure that you had an authentic experience representative of that college, not a show put on by administration and a few choice students.
More facetime with students
The more time you spend on campus, the more potential chances you have to talk with current students. You never know when you’ll meet someone with your potential major, or who is president of the club you definitely want to join. Ideally, students will be more than willing to share their experiences with you. If they’re not, this might be a good time to reevaluate what kind of atmosphere you are looking for in a school. Finally, if you have a chance to sit in on a class, you don’t want to miss it. Seeing what the class environment is like, as well as how students interact with each other and with professors, is crucial to making your college decision.