Are you planning your college campus tours? Good for you! The only way to really determine if a college is the right one for you is to visit it firsthand. The following are tips for getting the most from campus tours so you can make an educated decision:
Plan to Spend Several Hours There
Don’t limit your tour to the orientation session. Look into all the options, such as eating in a dorm cafeteria, meeting students, attending a question-and-answer session, interviewing with a college representative and monitoring a class.
Walk the Entire College Campus
Find out if there are buildings in a sketchy part of town or if you will have to take a shuttle or bus to get to classes. Walk through all of the dorms and apartments, and check out fraternity/sorority row. Get a feel for the entire campus, whether it’s condensed or sprawling, contained or part of the city.
Schedule an Interview With a Campus Representative
This is an interview for you and for the college, so put on your best face and be professional. Ask questions about admission requirements, coursework, majors, focuses, programs and financial aid. Make sure you express your interest in the college and let your strengths shine, since notes from the interview will be put into a file and considered as part of your application (and will count as a plus since it shows you are interested enough to go the extra mile and set up an interview.)
Check Out the Safety of the Campus
Are there “safety buttons” on campus so you can get help if you feel threatened while walking alone on campus at night? Ask about shuttle buses, escorts (security) and, if you’ll have a car on campus, parking lots.
Talk to a Career Counselor About Specific Programs
If you know what career you want to pursue, you may wish to make an appointment with the college counselor to discuss the college’s program and coursework. See if your AP (Advanced Placement) coursework will be accepted for credit and how long it would take you to complete the program.
Spend Time With Students
Find out if you can shadow a student or talk to a group of students about their experiences on campus. Ask for contact information and follow up later to find out if there’s anything the student didn’t feel comfortable telling you in public that he or she might disclose in private. Make note of the general student body attitude and atmosphere.
You will see plenty of students while you tour the campus. This will give you an idea of what everyday life on campus will feel like.
Go on Several Campus Tours so You Can Make Comparisons
Don’t get too enamored by your first campus tour. It’s easy to fall in love with a campus and think it’s the best college ever, just because you have nothing to compare it to. Your perfect college might be the third or fourth college you visit, so take your time, try to be objective, and take notes so you’ll be able to make rational comparisons later.