Do some pre-visit research. Read up on the school’s history. Look at a campus map on the school’s Web site, so you know which classrooms, facilities or departments you and your child particularly want to see.
Whenever possible, visit the campus during a normal school day. Weekend open houses are fine, but you’ll also want to see what a typical school schedule is like. If that means taking some time off work, remember that this is one of the biggest investments you’ll make for your child.
Make sure to talk to students and faculty while on your visit. The more perspectives you can get, the better.
Deviate from the standard tour. Once you’ve been given the official guided tour, ask if you can explore on your own.
Many schools offer shadow-a-student days for admitted or interested students. Children will probably feel freer to ask questions that matter to them when you’re not around.