Visiting the campus of a prospective college can be super exciting, but also very overwhelming once you get there. There’s so much to consider: school size, class size, location, student life, and more. If you’re going to visit the school, odds are you already know a little bit about it or are already interested in attending. However, campus visits can be a major factor when deciding where to go. Here are a few tips to make campus tours a little less nerve-wracking and way more manageable.
Do your homework
While the whole purpose of going on the tour is to learn more about the college, it will still be beneficial for you to do some rudimentary research prior to your visit. Knowing things like class size, student-faculty ratios, and major options are important to know beforehand. College visits help you understand the atmosphere of the school more than anything else, and it can be helpful to know some of the numbers and statistics before your tour. This will also help prevent you from wasting time asking questions you could otherwise just find the answer to online.
This one is extremely important! Many schools ask that you arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of the tour or information session because there will be some paperwork for you to complete before starting. If you know the college you are touring is an hour and a half away, for example, leave two hours before the start of the tour. This will give you enough time to stop and ask for directions if you get lost on campus and arrive with plenty of time to complete your paperwork.
Explore on your own
Either before or after your tour, take some time to explore the college campus on your own. This will help you get a feel for the school that is entirely your own. Tours are typically very structured and only how off the best of the best the campus has to offer. And why wouldn’t they? That’s the point of a tour. But exploring yourself afterward could unveil a cool lunch spot or have you stumbling across some interesting people you may not have met otherwise. And don’t be shy about it. Current students and faculty expect to see prospective students on campus around this time of year. Just don’t go disrupting any classes or walking into any building you’re not supposed to.
Oftentimes current students will be your guides on campus tours. These students are amazing resources! When I toured New College of Florida, the guides were practically begging us to ask them questions. Additionally, at the end of the tour, they may be willing to provide you with their email addresses if you have more questions. I still exchange emails with one of my previous tour guides. Take advantage of your student tour guides: they can give you amazing insight into the prospective school.
Not only will a campus visit be extremely informational in the sense of numbers, statistics, and ratios, it will also help you decide whether or not the school is the right fit. Just because a school has your major doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the perfect school for you. Pay close attention to what your tour guides say and to your surroundings; this will be helpful when you’ve narrowed it down to two schools and need to find a deciding factor.
College visits are an exciting experience for many prospective students. They indicate that college applications and acceptances are just around the corner. This time for students can be a whirlwind, but it’s so rewarding in the end!
For more great advice like this on making your college tours your own, check out our Campus Visits section.