So by now you know that a campus tour is an essential part of the college selection experience. Though it’s not really going to do you any good if you don’t use it to its fullest extent. When you walk on that campus you need to keep in mind that you may be living here and that you may be graduating from here. This is a serious decision that you cannot take lightly. Just because one college has more pool tables than another is not a reason to apply there. You get my point. Anyway, when you start visiting college campuses for tours and campus stays, you have to keep your eyes and ears open. Here are some tips to make the most of your visit:
Have a Meal
One of the best ways to get a feel for a college campus is to sit down to a meal with current students. Evaluate the dining hall, cafeteria or a fast food restaurant on campus. Is everyone keeping to themselves or being very social in groups? Do the students and faculty eat together? What’s the food like? Could you stand eating it day in and day out for four years? It may seem odd to list this first, but food is very important, and if you can’t swallow what the campus offers, it may not be the right choice for you.
While you’re sitting down to a meal in the cafeteria or taking a break from the walking tour, listen in on what other students are saying. What are they talking about? Now, don’t go and be super obvious about it, but try to hear if they’re talking about their classes and campus life. If so, what do they say? Is it positive or negative? Are they really stressed out and overloaded, or do they seem carefree? It’s important to know where the students stand in regards to campus life and how classes are run and one of the best ways to do that is to eavesdrop just a tad.
Inquire the Faculty
A lot of the time while on a guided tour, you will get the opportunity to talk with faculty members of the department you would like to enter into. This may require that you go on an individual tour, so as to not hold up the rest of the people in your group. Even so, the experience can be very rewarding, because you’ll be able to meet with admissions faculty, financial aid faculty and even your future potential professors. That’s pretty exciting stuff and will come in extremely handy when it comes time to make a decision about which college you’d like to go to. And what can be more telling than a face to face conversation with a faculty member? Are they open, friendly and interested in helping you? Are they organized and ready to answer your questions? These are just some of the things you should keep in mind.
Talk to Students
If you can, approach a student or two on campus and tell them that you’re a high school student and were wondering if they’d be willing to answer your questions about the college. If so, ask about what he or she thinks of the campus and the college in general. What do they think of their classes? Are they difficult? Easy? Challenging? Are the professors helpful and available? How’s the food on campus? What’s the dorm living like? I mean, there are really a million things you could ask, but try to ask the most pressing things while you have a student’s attention.
So when you find it’s time to go on campus tours and visits, try to make the most of them! This is your one shot to get a good look at the campus and will probably be one of the biggest factors in your final decision. Don’t let the opportunity go to waste!