Some say the most ideal seasons to visit colleges are the fall, winter or spring when campuses are abuzz with activity. And while it's certainly true that those times are best for seeing a college in full action, it doesn't mean a summer visit can't be useful. On the contrary, summer visits can actually end up being more productive and enjoyable. Here are five ways to make the most of them.

1. Ask for a specialized tour. If there are certain facilities you want to see that aren't typically on regular campus tours, a summer visit is the perfect time to request a special viewing. Planning to study biology? Go see the labs! Interested in finance? Check out their trading room. Since there likely won't be too much going on this time of year in those spaces, admissions counselors should have no problem getting you a closer look.

2. Arrange a few meetings. Don't assume that during the summer, you won't be able to meet with faculty, students or staff. Chances are, admissions counselors will be happy to try to arrange meetings that are important to you. Just let them know ahead of time what your ideal visit would consist of; same goes for the specialized tours above. (P.S. Here are a few questions to consider asking professors.)

3. Make a stay of it. It's summer vacation! Why not treat campus visits like mini getaways? By staying overnight or even for a few days, you'll have the chance to explore your potential new town when everyone is out and about, enjoying the sunshine. Find out what locals love to do, where the popular restaurants are and how students—who stick around campus for the season—like to spend their days. (If you happen to be swinging through Siena, here's your agenda.)

4. Plan your visit around a campus event. Whenever you can tour a campus is a good time, but if your dates are flexible, find out if the school is hosting any summertime events specifically for prospective students. At Siena, for example, we have our Summer Days. Planned events will usually give you more of a full experience, often with current student panels, financial aid discussions and speeches from the deans. 

5. Ask a lot of questions. Tours are typically less crowded during the summer, which means it's a lot easier to pitch question after question along your stroll—and your tour guides may even give more thorough answers. With more time to chat and less people to chat with, they'll gladly welcome the conversation. (For even more information, pick up these publications on your visit.)

See you soon?