Spring break is a great time for college visits, and you might be planning some with your family already. Just note that many colleges have their spring breaks at the same time you might be hoping to visit — and on top of that, most UC’s and several top private schools have final exams in the week leading up to spring break.
Visiting a campus during final exams or spring break can be a less-than-satisfying experience. The campus will be quiet or empty, and guided tours typically won’t be available. You’ll see the campus physically — and that’s something — but you won’t get a good sense of what life there is really like.
Spring break dates vary considerably between colleges. (Please confirm all dates yourself before making any travel plans!) The following schools are on the quarter system, so their spring break dates are preceded by a week of final exams:
- Stanford, CalTech, Cal Poly SLO, and all UC’s except Berkeley and Merced: finals the week of 3/16, then spring break through 3/31.
These schools are on the semester system, so they do not have final exams before spring break:
- Loyola Marymount: 3/9-17 and 4/17-21
- USC: 3/14-22
- USD: 3/2-10 and 4/18-22
- Chapman: 3/21-29
- UC Berkeley and Merced: 3/23-31
So, is it worth visiting a college during its spring break or final exams? It depends, of course — are you already in the area? Will you have another chance to visit? But if you have the choice, it’s always best to see a campus when it’s full of students and buzzing with activity.
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