7 Tips To Get The Most Out Of The College Tour

Posted by Stephanie Brady on 3/1/2019

For many juniors and sophomores, the spring season means it is a great time to visit colleges. Campus tours are often the best opportunity to research schools and discover what characteristics you like in colleges. Many colleges offer multiple options for visiting their campus. They can range from on-campus tours with information sessions to mini-tours of a department within the college, to becoming a student for a day. One thing they all have in common is campus tours will highlight the best features of the school. However, visiting multiple colleges can be costly as it may mean hopping on a plane or driving long distances. If possible, visit the colleges you are strongly considering and leave the rest to a virtual tour. Should you be accepted to colleges you did not get a chance to visit, that's ok. Many colleges offer accepted student days prior to making a final decision by May 1st. No matter when you visit there are ways to dig deeper and get the most out of the experience. Below are seven tips for making the most out of the college tour experience.
1. When To Go
The best time to visit campus is when school is in session. This will give you a front row seat to the students and what life is like at the college. Generally, this means during spring break since colleges usually have a different spring break than Miramonte.
2. Pay Attention To How You Feel
Sometimes it’s a gut feeling that arises when walking around the campus. While on the tour ask yourself "Can I see myself here?"
3. Talk To Your Tour Guide
They are the best source of information. Ask them questions like:
  • How much time do students spend studying a week?
  • How often do students work together on class projects or assignments?
  • How accessible are faculty members?
  • Where do upperclassmen usually live?
  • Is it hard to make friends? How many people go home on weekends or commute to school?
  • What did you do last weekend?
  • What are some of the more popular extracurricular activities on campus?
  • Could we see a classroom?
  • What percentage of freshman get the courses they want?
The tour guide is a great resource for all the questions you really want answered but may not want to ask the admissions office.
4. Pretend You Are Lost
After the tour is over, venture out on your own. Pretend like you are lost and ask a student for directions. This is a great way to get to know how open and friendly the students are on campus.
5. Pick Up a School Newspaper
Reading the school newspaper or checking out the flyers around campus provides an insight into the social life of the students and what is important to them.
6. Visit the Bookstore
Many college bookstores employ students. They are a great resource for information and will likely provide a different perspective than the tour guide. Spark conversation and ask questions like, "What is your favorite part of college life?" or "What is it like to study your major?"
7. Take Notes
This is likely one of the most important tips. After two years and numerous college tours, it is very difficult to remember the details of your experience. Once you return from the tour take five minutes to write down your thoughts. What stood out to you? What did you like about the college? How did you feel about the students? Could you see yourself as a student there and why? Keeping notes will prove to be an invaluable tool as you make decisions on where to apply and ultimately where to attend college.
Through it all, it's important to remember that visiting a college is not a requirement for admission. It is merely an opportunity to get a closer glimpse of what life might be like as a student. So, if you are lucky enough to step foot onto campus before applying, make sure you get all you can out of the visit!