Touring Top Colleges in Pennsylvania (A Travel Itinerary)

Starting your college search is an exhilarating adventure filled with choices and possibilities. Visiting campuses is pivotal in discovering the right fit for your higher education goals. In this article, we’ll introduce you to Philadelphia University and several other outstanding institutions in Pennsylvania that we recommend visiting as well. We’ll share a bit about the schools and provide an itinerary that outlines the order of visits, nearby airports for your convenience, and exciting points of interest to explore along the way.

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Jefferson University (formerly Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University)

Philadelphia University, now known as Jefferson University, is a hub of innovation and academic excellence in the heart of Philadelphia. Known for its health sciences, design, and business programs, Jefferson offers a dynamic and collaborative environment for students. By visiting Jefferson University, you’ll gain firsthand experience of its cutting-edge facilities and commitment to experiential learning.

  • Campus Highlights: Begin your tour by exploring Jefferson University’s vibrant campus, including its state-of-the-art Health Science Center and Kanbar Campus Center. The Health Science Center represents the cutting-edge resources available to students pursuing health-related disciplines, showcasing the university’s commitment to hands-on learning. As the heart of campus life, the Kanbar Campus Center offers a glimpse into the vibrant community and extracurricular activities that enhance the student experience.
  • Local Eateries and Points of Interest: Discover local eateries like Manayunk Brewing Company. This brewery offers a unique blend of delicious food (sushi and pizza!) and craft beer (for those in your party who can imbibe) in a historic setting along the Schuylkill River. It’s an excellent spot to unwind. Explore Philadelphia’s historic sites, including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. These historic landmarks are a testament to Philadelphia’s role in American history. 

Suggested Accommodation in Philadelphia: Stay at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown for a convenient and comfortable experience in the city’s hub.

Penn State University (University Park)

Penn State University, located in University Park (as opposed to the main campus in State College, PA), offers a quintessential college experience with diverse programs and a strong sense of community. Known for its research opportunities and spirited campus life, Penn State is a top choice for many students. Explore its expansive campus, attend sporting events, and connect with faculty to understand why it’s a powerhouse in higher education.

  • Campus Highlights: A tour of Penn State would only be complete by seeing the Old Main building, a symbol of tradition and academic excellence. Beaver Stadium is the school’s massive sports arena, showcasing the university’s spirited culture and the excitement of being part of a Big Ten school.
  • Local Eateries and Points of Interest: Enjoy local cuisine at The Corner Room — this restaurant is an institution in State College, serving classic American comfort food in a historic setting. It’s a favorite among students and locals alike. We recommend visiting Penn’s Cave & Wildlife Park for a unique adventure. Located just a short drive from Penn State, this natural attraction offers boat tours through underground caverns and a wildlife park, making it a fun and educational excursion.

Suggested Accommodation in University Park: Stay at The Penn Stater Hotel for a convenient and comfortable that’s only minutes away from Penn State’s campus. in 

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Haverford College

Haverford College is a liberal arts institution renowned for its intellectual rigor and Quaker heritage. It is located in Haverford, Pennsylvania, and offers a close-knit community committed to social justice and academic excellence. When you visit Haverford, you’ll experience its tranquil campus, engage with passionate students and professors, and discover its rich history.

  • Campus Highlights: Stroll through Haverford’s scenic campus and visit the renowned Haverford College Arboretum. This unique resource demonstrates the college’s commitment to environmental stewardship and offers a peaceful oasis for students seeking solace in nature. Explore the charming Allison & Howard Lutnick Library to scope out the perfect study spot and appreciate the stunning historic building.
  • Local Eateries and Points of Interest: Dine at nearby eateries like White Dog Café. This restaurant is known for its commitment to locally sourced and sustainable ingredients, providing a unique dining experience. Spend some time at Longwood Gardens. It is a stunning horticultural display garden with thousands of plant species and beautiful landscapes, offering visitors a serene and picturesque setting.

Suggested Accommodation in Haverford: Stay at The Radnor Hotel for a comfortable and stylish stay near Haverford College.

Villanova University

Villanova University, located in Villanova, Pennsylvania, is known for its strong academic programs and Augustinian values. The university offers a welcoming community, robust athletics, and personal and professional growth opportunities. Explore its beautiful campus, attend a basketball game at the Finneran Pavilion, and engage with faculty to see if Villanova aligns with your aspirations.

  • Campus Highlights: Tour Villanova’s Mendel Science Center. This state-of-the-art facility reflects Villanova’s commitment to excellence in science and research, providing students with modern laboratories and resources. The St. Thomas of Villanova Church is a symbol of the university’s Augustinian values, and this church represents the spiritual dimension of campus life and the importance of faith in the Villanova community.
  • Local Eateries and Points of Interest: Savor Mexican cuisine at El Vez. A hip and flashy with upscale bites and great ambiance. Visit the Chanticleer Gardens for a stunning retreat with diverse plantings and innovative designs, making it a tranquil oasis for nature lovers.

Suggested Accommodation near Villanova: Stay at The Inn at Villanova University for a comfortable and stylish stay near Villanova University.

Temple University

Temple University, located in the vibrant city of Philadelphia, offers a diverse and urban campus experience. Renowned for its business, media, and arts programs, Temple provides access to a dynamic city and many opportunities. Discover its modern facilities, engage with the Temple community, and see how it fosters creativity and innovation.

  • Campus Highlights: Tour Temple’s renowned Fox School of Business. This cutting-edge facility represents Temple’s dedication to preparing students for success in the business world, emphasizing entrepreneurship and innovation. As a technological hub, it showcases Temple’s commitment to providing students with the latest tools and resources to excel in their studies and careers; the TECH Center should also be on your list.
  • Local Eateries and Points of Interest: Enjoy local flavors at Maxi’s Pizza, a popular spot for students, offering a variety of pizza options and other Italian dishes in a casual setting. Explore Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens for artistic inspiration. This unique art installation and community arts center features intricate mosaic artwork and sculptures, providing an immersive and creative experience.

Suggested Accommodation in Philadelphia: Stay at the Aloft Philadelphia Downtown for a modern and convenient stay in the town center.

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Drexel University

Drexel University, also situated in the heart of Philadelphia, is known for its cooperative education (co-op) programs and emphasis on experiential learning. Explore Drexel’s urban campus, connect with faculty and students, and discover how its innovative approach to education can shape your future.

  • Campus Highlights: Drexel is a top-ranked business school, so be sure to tour Drexel’s LeBow College of Business. It showcases Drexel’s commitment to providing students with practical experiences and industry connections. Also, be sure to check out the Daskalakis Athletic Center. This facility represents the importance of health and wellness in the Drexel community, offering opportunities for fitness and recreation. 
  • Local Eateries and Points of Interest: Sabrina’s Café is a local favorite known for its creative and generous breakfast and brunch options, making it a popular choice for students (and it’s a one minute walk from campus). We also suggest you explore the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This iconic museum features an extensive art collection, including the famous “Rocky Steps” and a stunning view of the city from its steps.

Suggested Accommodation in Philadelphia: Stay at The Study at University City for a comfortable and modern stay near Drexel University.

Swarthmore College

Swarthmore College, nestled in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, is a renowned liberal arts institution committed to social responsibility and academic excellence. Explore Swarthmore’s picturesque campus, engage with its passionate community, and understand why it’s a top choice for students seeking intellectual growth and societal impact.

  • Campus Highlights: Stroll through Swarthmore’s iconic Scott Arboretum. This botanical treasure reflects Swarthmore’s dedication to environmental sustainability and offers students a peaceful setting for contemplation and relaxation. Visit the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. As a testament to Swarthmore’s commitment to social justice, this collection highlights the college’s role in promoting peace and activism. 
  • Local Eateries and Points of Interest: Dine at the Broad Table Tavern. This restaurant offers farm-to-table dining focusing on local ingredients, providing a delightful culinary experience (also, it’s located at The Inn at Swarthmore). And though it’s a bit of a trek from Swarthmore College, we recommend stopping at Valley Forge to take in American history. 

Suggested Accommodation near Swarthmore: Stay at The Inn at Swarthmore for a comfortable and stylish stay close to Swarthmore College.

Your Comprehensive Campus Tour Itinerary

To make the most of your college tour adventure in Pennsylvania, we’ve prepared a suggested itinerary for a memorable journey. Feel free to adjust it based on your preferences and the colleges that interest you the most.

Day 1: Arrival in Philadelphia

Day 2: Philadelphia University (Jefferson University) & Villanova University

  • Morning: Take a campus tour of Jefferson University.
  • Early Afternoon: Travel to Villanova University.
  • Afternoon: Take a campus tour of Villanova University.
  • Evening: Explore the Villanova area and have dinner.

Day 3: Penn State University & Haverford College

  • Morning: Check out of your Villanova accommodation.
  • Travel to University Park.
  • Morning: Take a campus tour of Penn State University.
  • Early Afternoon: Travel to Haverford.
  • Afternoon: Take a campus tour of Haverford College.
  • Evening: Explore the Haverford area and have dinner.

Day 4: Temple University & Drexel University

  • Morning: Check out of your Haverford accommodation.
  • Travel to Philadelphia.
  • Morning: Take a campus tour of Temple University.
  • Early Afternoon: Travel to Drexel University.
  • Afternoon: Take a campus tour of Drexel University.
  • Evening: Explore the Drexel area and have dinner.

Day 5: Swarthmore College & Departure

  • Morning: Check out at your Drexel accommodation.
  • Travel to Swarthmore.
  • Morning: Take a campus tour of Swarthmore College.
  • Early Afternoon: Explore the Swarthmore area.
  • Afternoon/Evening: Depart from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).

As you embark on your college search journey, exploring these exceptional institutions in Pennsylvania will provide valuable insights and help you discover the perfect fit for your higher education goals. Enjoy your college tours, embrace the vibrant campuses, and make the most of your journey through Pennsylvania’s rich educational landscape!

And if you should need further guidance on picking, applying to, or preparing for your dream college, the team at The Admissions Angle is here to help. Schedule a free consultation with us to get started.

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