Campus Tours Did You Know
Whether you know a campus like the back of your hand or your teen is interested in a college you have never seen, a campus tour can be an excellent way to get a real feel for the school and all it offers. Start touring before the junior year to help your child look to the future, and avoid touring in the summer; instead go in the fall or spring. Here are a few helpful touring tips.
When preparing for a tour, you and your student should create a list of questions you need answered and a list of “must-haves” that you are looking for in a university. These might include:
- A Greek system
- A particular major
- Small-town atmosphere
- Climate and typical weather conditions
- Options for living on or off campus
- Options for keeping a car on campus
- Level of safety on campus
- Driving distance from home
- Number and diversity of student activities and clubs offered
Scheduling Your Tours
Remember to schedule ahead. Contact the undergraduate recruitment office at least a couple of weeks in advance. Tours usually last about an hour. Keep in mind that the busiest tour days are Mondays and Fridays.
Comparison Shop! Encourage your student to look at a number of schools. Seeing multiple campuses could help your child realize that their original “first-choice” school might not be what they actually want.
There is a possibility that you and your student might run into some barriers when scheduling a campus tour. If the tours are full, get in touch with a student from your hometown who already attends the university. You might not receive the same tour as you would with a scheduled campus tour, but they may offer a different perspective and even more insight.
While You’re There
Make the most of your time at each spot. Try to:
- Sit in on a lecture.
- Drive the trip to “know” how far away from home it is.
- Talk to random students to get different perspectives.
- Include a campus tour on your family vacations starting in middle school
- Pick up campus newspapers to get a feel for the school’s pulse.
After the Tour
Compare notes with your child and document things you liked and didn’t like based on the criteria going into the tour. Did you like the same things? Why or why not? To ensure the best tour experience, make sure to keep an open mind about each campus you attend.
The Experts Advise
Take this sage wisdom to heart:
“To the extent that it is possible, spread out your college visits. You do yourself an injustice if the four schools you have seen in the last two days are muddled together in your mind.” - Mark Foley, Former Ambassador for the University of Alabama
“It is important to remember that when students choose to attend a college, they are not just making a decision about where they are going to take classes. They are making a decision about the kind of people they will be surrounding themselves with and the opportunities they will be afforded to grow socially, mentally and spiritually.” - Jordan Holladay, former Head Student Recruiter with Auburn University