You should visit colleges if you are able because it is the best way to get a feel for if those students are your kind of people, and if that setting is comfortable and exciting for you. At a college you need to be able to thrive academically and socially, and visiting is one of the very best ways to determine if the college is a great fit for you.
If you cannot visit campus, say during the time of Corona lockdown, then you can do the virtual tour posted on the college website, and attend any virtual events the college offers. You can also use good virtual tour websites like Campus Reel, Youniversitytv and Youvisit. These websites have a lot of visits in one spot. 🙂
You can start visiting campuses after sophomore year because that’s when most colleges start tracking prospective students. Going earlier can make you look a bit odd or too eager, unless you’re just passing by on your way to visit Aunt Mildred, in which case it makes perfect sense to stop and check a place out! See our blogs, videos, and handouts on visiting campuses. 🙂
Hope this helps!