Pros and Cons of Self-Guided Campus Tours

Some colleges offer maps or apps that let you explore campus on your own. If you choose to go on a self-guided tour, keep these five things in mind.

CollegeXpress Student Writer

Originally Posted: Jul 27, 2017
Last Updated: Dec 22, 2020

Recently, I was near a college I had wanted to visit, but there were no campus tours available for me to join. I noticed there was a section on their website for a self-guided tour, so I eagerly clicked and was redirected to the App Store. I downloaded an app and opened it up to find a whole pre-planned tour route along with voice recordings and pictures. 

If you can’t go on an official tour, walking around campus by yourself is still a great way to visit campus. Here are some positives and negatives I found after going on my self-guided college tour.

Pro: Self-guided tours fit into your schedule

The most obvious pro of a self-guided college tour is that it allows you to fit a college tour into your busy schedule. You can go to campus at any time during the day and start your own tour. There’s no waiting around for other people or having to plan your day around a several hour­–long college tour.

Pro: You can skip as many steps as you want

While going on the self-guided college tour, I liked the fact that I could skip over any building or spot on campus that I didn’t find necessary to learn about in depth. This allowed me to spend more time at places that I was truly interested in, making the tour more concise.

Pro: You are alone and/or with your family members

Along with the ability to personalize your stops, self-guided tours allow for a more personal experience on a campus. Without the large group of other students and families around, you can focus on yourself, your possible questions, as well as your feelings toward the campus.

Con: You may have unanswered questions

The one crucial aspect missing from a self-guided college tour is the tour guide. While there were recordings of students talking about each point on the tour with the app I used, the lack of a tour guide present did pose somewhat of an obstacle. But, if you do have questions your self-guided tour did not answer, you can always go to the Admission Office and ask someone there.

Related: The Essential List of Campus Visit Questions

Con: You might not think of questions you would have within a larger group

When touring a college with a larger group of people, other prospective students may ask questions you wouldn’t have thought of before. On a self-guided college tour, this type of group thinking and questions is unavailable.

Depending on your preferences, a self-guided campus tour may or may not be for you. If you’re interested, see if your colleges offer a tour app, or at least a map or brochure. If you enjoy learning about colleges on your own and having a say in the places you explore, a self-guided college tour could be something you want to try.

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About Hunter Freedman

Hi, I'm Hunter Freedman and I'm a junior at Phoenix Country Day School in Arizona! I've been writing for school newspapers for two years and I love to write about general news and the arts. I'm really excited to write for CollegeXpress and to share my college search and application process!


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