The snow is thawing and spring break is approaching. If you are a high schooler, this change of season very well might be a sign that college visits are coming.
This is advice for your visit, and not the actual college choice. If you need help making your final decision, have no fear, check out this post!
Whether you have or haven’t been on a college tour, unless you have actually ATTENDED college, its hard to know exactly what you should be looking for and what you need.
SO first of all- take the GUIDED tour. Walking around the campus without a guide is still valuable, but you really should hear the whole pitch from a current student. After the tour walk around independently!
Once on the guided tour- I recommend standing near the front, and starting a conversation with the tour guide. If you dont have a friend that goes to this school, this tour guide may be your best resource to hear about what the student experience at this school is really like.
Now that you’re at the front, when you’re walking between the destinations and the tour guide isn’t giving a whole schpiel, ask them some questions!
Questions to ask your tour guide:
- Where does everyone live AFTER the first year?
- How does the town feel outside of the college?
- Where should I eat after this to get a feel of what its like to be a student (ie not an on-campus place)?
- When did this school really begin to feel like home?
- Do you plan on staying in the area after you graduate?
- What were activities that changed your college experience for the better?
- Is there a type of person that wouldn’t be happy here?
- How often are there concerts/ cool live shows?
- ANYTHING ELSE YOU ARE CURIOUS ABOUT
Remember that tour guides are trained to answer any question, so dont feel like you need to hold back.
Still dont know what to ask or look for? Ask a friend who is in college or fresh out what made a difference to them. What made them feel at home at the school they went to, and what would they look for if they had to choose a campus again?
Finally, I think you want to try to get a good sense of the students while you’re touring. Are people hanging out outside? Does there seem to be energy you can feel? Packs of friends are a good sign. Comradery is important. Every school can have pretty buildings, but that doesn’t mean the students are HAPPY. Take a critical look at the relationships and dynamics you see. They might not say on a tour that the campus is for mostly commuters and there is not a large community comradery, so its up to you to judge the feel. (If EVERYONE is driving to campus that might not be a good sign)
Finally finally, if you need help with the whole college app process, I recommend you get a planner!