Campus tours are an essential part of the college selection process. While a college may look fantastic on paper, it may not feel right when you physically set foot on campus. Even so, appearances shouldn’t be everything, but you can gain a better understanding about a college just based on how their campus works and what the current students say about it.
Here are some common things you may experience while on a campus tour:
Walking Through a Guided Tour
It may seem obvious, but campus visits don’t always include a campus tour. So if you want to see the campus with someone that is knowledgeable about it, make sure that a guided tour is a part of the deal. Make sure you get a good look at all of the main buildings and areas of the campus. You should also be able to see how the campus functions and have each area of the campus explained to you by the guide.
You should also expect to be guided through the admissions and financial aid offices, which if you were to become a student there, you should become extremely familiar with. There are usually many departments within each office, so you’ll need to know where everything is. This is especially the case when you are a freshman student, because you’ll need to go to admissions and financial aid often in order to submit forms and transcripts initially.
Photos & Virtual Tours of School Campus
Be careful when looking at online virtual tours. These typically do not capture the true atmosphere as campus as well as real life tours do.
Sitting In On a Classroom Session
Another aspect of a lot of campus tours is the opportunity to sit in on a class. This is a really great opportunity because how else could you possibly know what the classroom atmosphere would be like? Now, you can’t go and judge the entire college’s reputation by one class, but it can be a good indicator to the teaching style and format used on campus. From this you can gauge whether or not you’d be a good fit for this campus.
If you get a chance, you should also take this opportunity—after class of course—to talk to current students at the school. They will more than likely answer your questions candidly, so make sure you have your questions prepared. Don’t forget to ask students if they’re willing to answer some of your questions in the first place.
View A Dorm Room Stay
Another aspect of the campus visit is a stay in the dorm room. This is usually a part of those package deals that you pay for to visit and spend a night at several colleges in one particular area. It’s a really great thing to do because you’ll learn a lot about what it’s like to live in a dorm room with other people and what the buildings are like. If you can’t tolerate one night in the dorm room, could you imagine having to live in one for four years? That would be unbearable!
While staying overnight in the dorm room, be sure to ask questions and even take notes if you have to. It is important to jot notes to yourself about what you like and dislike about a particular college. If you don’t it can be difficult to remember what the pros and cons were after your return home.
Schedule Question Time
You should take every opportunity available to you to ask questions. Campus tour guides often don’t offer information about the rigors of classroom work, so be sure you ask what sort of work is assigned for freshman, what the tests are like, if group activity is encouraged over solitary work or what have you. Knowing the specifics of the mentality of the college as a whole will help you decide if your personality and work ethic is a good fit.