A Campus Visit Platform Idea

The website and app that I wish we had when planning our family's college visits.

January 12, 2014

How many of you have taken part in planning college visits?

The work that goes into the figuring out which schools to schlep your daughter or son to as they figure out where they might want to apply.

Being the parents of a high school junior we are deep into that process. And we are finding out that there seems to be some missing tools that could help in the process.

The website and app that I’m envisioning would do the following things:

1. Mapping: It should be possible to enter the names of a list of schools on a website, and get back a map that has all the schools marked and which includes travel distances (by car or flying) so it is easy to visualize the best way to plan a campus visit vacation. The site / app should function as an itinerary planning tool, one where it is easy to assign a campus a specific day to visit and where the best route and travel time between the schools is dynamically created on the travel map.

2. Campus Tour and Information Session Sign-Ups:  Planning a campus visit depends on the timing and availability of the campus tour and information session. The website and app that I’m envisioning would either hold that information in a database (schools would even pay to have it included) or would screen scrape these details from the websites of individual schools. Ideally, it would be possible to sign-up for the campus tours and information sessions from a single platform. You would have all your information already entered, and would therefore avoid the need to go to a bunch of college tour sites and re-enter your information every time.

3. Lodging: The Campus Tour website / app would tie into Airbnb and maybe Travelocity or Expedia or some travel website to help book lodging close to campus. The campus visit itinerary that was generated on the site and app could also book your hotel or B&B room. The business model for this seems clear, as the site would get a cut of these bookings.

4. Virtual Tours: The site could not only help the family figure out the college visit itinerary and travel logistics, it could also provide one-stop shopping for virtual tours. The place where visitors could download self-guided podcasts, or view virtual tours online or through an app.   

5. Social: Is there anyplace where prospective students and their parents can share stories about their campus tour and information session experiences? The best tour guides to get? The best days and times to join the tour? The questions to ask? The campus places that everyone should be sure to see but that might not be included on a campus visit?

Does a website / app like this already exist?

How would you improve on this idea?

Should we go into business together and create it?

Will you be joining our family on our campus visits this coming February?  


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