How to get the most out of a college tour

Emily Roelant ‘20, Layout Director

 

As many of us make our way through high school, it is easy to get caught up in what is approaching sooner than ever: college. To the average student, college can seem simultaneously daunting and exciting. However, whatever your attitude towards college is, visiting some campuses can give you an idea of what you want your future to look like. College visits and tours can help you become more familiar with a campus and see if it is a right fit for you academically and socially.

Preparing for a college tour is no easy task; you have to think about the right questions to ask, what to see, and to whom to talk. To help you out, here is a quick list of things to remember before going on a college tour.

Make sure you have researched the school and its program ahead of time to know if it includes majors in which you are interested. This would entail looking on the school’s website or calling the admission’s offices for help. Also, when picking colleges, you may want to consider its public or private status and the different amenities that each school offers.

In addition, always plan for a full day to visit the school, so you do not feel rushed in exploring and getting the answers you need. This can include keeping in mind the time of year you are going to visit the school. The most ideal time would be taking a tour when school is in session, so you can get a feel for what campus life is like at that particular school. 

In order to get the most out of your campus tour, be sure to see the dorms, dining halls, sporting facilities (such as a gym or field if you are interested in playing sports there), as well as student and learning centers. In addition, you can talk to current students, alumni, and a financial aid and/or admissions counselor either on campus or by email.

Once you have visited the college, keep a list of pros and cons of each school. This is very helpful, especially if you have visited multiple schools and you want to remember every important detail from each school. Senior Emily Vitale has visited four colleges (in and out of state) and believes college tours are beneficial “because this is the place you will be spending the next four years of your life, so you have to like it enough to call it home.” Vitale also advises students who are looking into colleges to  “take each tour into consideration. Even if you go into [the tour] not thinking you would end up at that college, you never know what could change your mind.” 

Senior Natalie Mac has been on 10 college tours (also in and out of state), and agrees with Vitale about tours being extremely helpful. Mac said, “You can really get a feel for the campus and if you can see yourself going there.” She highly recommends visiting campuses, as she has benefited immensely from them herself; for instance, Mac never considered going to the University of Minnesota, but after touring it, she absolutely loved it. 

Her advice would be to “go with your gut when touring colleges; if you have a little bit of doubt that you don’t really like how you feel on campus, then chances are you might not enjoy your time on campus as a student. That being said, it is also still super important to make sure the schools you’re looking at offer a variety of programs that interest you because it is extremely common to go into college thinking you’re going to do one thing and actually feeling the exact opposite once you start learning it.”

Even if college is not your thing, there are hundreds of other opportunities out there if you just go out and explore. 

 

Photo courtesy of northcentralcollege.edu

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