Touring a prospective college is an exciting memory that students hold as the genesis of their university experience. Below is a breakdown of six of the most important things to look for on a college tour. If you walk away from a college tour with confident and positive answers to each of these questions, you may have just toured your dream school. These 4 tips to make a good impression on a campus tour may be helpful as well.
1. Where will your classes take place?
Some colleges tout new, sleek buildings on college tours, but fail to mention whether your classes will actually take place there. Are the classes in your major likely to be mostly large lectures, or smaller, discussion-based classes? Is your major one that got stuck with that weird building located a mile off campus? Most classes are physically grouped with those of similar subjects, so try to figure out where most of your classes will actually take place before gazing in wonder at that elegant, spiral staircase of the business building.
2. What kind of learning resources will be available to you?
Making sure your that field of study has a good building is important, but figuring out what kind of materials and services they will provide you with is even more so. If you’re a business major, determine what kind of networking and internship opportunities are available to current students. If you’re studying media, identify what kind of cameras and recording equipment you have access to. If you’re hoping to go into a research-based career, learn about what type of research is taking place on campus and how likely it is that you can get involved. Basically, make sure you’ll be able to walk away from your college years with some hands-on experience in your field. You may also wish to look into tutoring that is available for students in your major.
3. Where will you study?
College is about learning, first and foremost – don’t let any movie plotline or social stigma convince you otherwise. Most of your time in college will be spent pouring over textbooks, notes, and blank pages waiting to be filled with your wisdom. As such, it would be worthwhile to scope out a few prime study spots on the tour. Keep an eye out for quiet, comfortable places that you would be happy planting yourself in for long periods of time. If you do not immediately notice any such spots, ask a few students where their favorite study spots are – they’re bound to have a few! These are some great tips on how to create a good study environment.
4. Where are you going to be living?
If you intend to live in the dorms, as most incoming freshman do, make sure to soak up as much detail about the dorms as you can—they could end up being your new home. Here are 8 items to bring to your dorm room. As with any home rental, a preliminary walk through and Q&A session should be a mandatory first step. How small will your room be? If they seem small (they probably will), look for open lounges or study spaces that may balance out your room’s confinement. How many people will you share a bathroom with? What are the showers like? What are the dorm food options? Dorm life will be quite the adjustment, but taking a thorough tour should help the transition go as smoothly as possible. Here
5. What’s the surrounding area like?
You might stay in the dorms throughout your schooling, but chances are you’ll be ready to move off campus after freshman year. That is why it’s extremely important to get to know the neighborhoods that surround your campus as well. Clear some time in the day of your college tour to drive around and explore the city. What areas do most students live in? Do any neighborhoods seem like places to avoid? What are the locals like? What can you do when you need to get off campus and take a break from the college mindset? This knowledge will become solidified within a few months of experience in the area, but it’s a good idea to walk into your freshman year with a little bit of info on locals and local spots backlogged.
6. What are the students like?
Perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to make sure to take note of how the students seem on campus. If you decide to attend this university, those students will be your peers. You don’t want to join into a student body that makes you feel out of place. Does everyone seem too stressed out for you to handle? Is there too much Greek life for your liking? Too little? It is a good idea to talk to students who are walking around. Unless they’re in a rush, students are likely to be happy to share their opinions of school life with you. Keep the academic calendar in mind, as students will seem most studious during finals week, and most relaxed after breaks.