College visits and tours are now back to offering in-person opportunities, and they are a great way for students to learn more about a particular school and also demonstrate interest (more on that here). So here are some important tips for making the most of college visits and tours.
- Plan in advance- Colleges usually book tours in advance and it’s best to take an official tour if possible. It’s fairly easy to go to a college’s website and find their online calendar and book a tour during an open time slot.
- Go when college is in session- The best way to get a good feel of a school is to go when school is in session. Students and professors will be milling about, the dining halls and student centers will be full. The personality of the school will really shine.
- Go during winter or spring of junior year- This plays into #1 and #2 of our list. If you plan early and go when college is in session, that leaves winter and spring of junior year as the best times to visit college campuses. Waiting until the last minute often leads to stress and anxiety. It’s great to get a jump on things.
- Visit a variety of different colleges-It can be difficult to really get a good sense of what the differences are between a small college and a large college, for example, without seeing them. If deciding between a college in the city versus one with a rural campus, why not see both? You may know certain characteristics of the college you want, but if other factors are up in the air, try to see different options.
- Ask questions that pertain to your needs and wants- For more information about what to expect on a campus tour, read this previous blog post. One thing that can make your campus tour the most helpful it can be is to ask questions that pertain to your specific needs and wants. For a good list of potential questions you may ask, see here.
- Be comfortable and have fun- Be yourself. If an admission counselor is available or offers to answer questions, introduce yourself and don’t worry about trying to impress them. They just want to get to know you better and also answer any questions you may have about that school.
- Trust your gut- If a school doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t the right place for you. Trust that. Try not to leave a campus tour early- give the school a fair shake since you’re already there (I know students who didn’t like a school just by the drive in, but by the end of the tour loved it).
A campus tour is a great way to get to know a college better and it makes the college know that it may be a top contender for you, which they appreciate. They love to share what makes them unique and different from other schools. Relax and have fun!