College Visits 101: Making the Most of Your Campus Tours

One of my favorite things during my junior and senior years was visiting college campuses. It was so much fun seeing the flow of campus and finding out all of the activities that take place there. Whether you are staying local or heading out of state, keep reading to make the most of your college […]

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March 21, 2024

Neely Roberts

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Lipscomb University campus building for college visits. Nashville, TN

One of my favorite things during my junior and senior years was visiting college campuses. It was so much fun seeing the flow of campus and finding out all of the activities that take place there. Whether you are staying local or heading out of state, keep reading to make the most of your college visits.

Research Beforehand:

Explore the college’s website to gather basic information. You want to make sure you know where to park, where buildings are located and any other important information such as events on or near campus during your visit. Also, identify specific academic programs, extracurricular activities, and facilities of interest, that way you know what the university offers, and you can prepare questions ahead of time.

Plan Ahead:

Schedule campus tours in advance to ensure availability. Some colleges schedule tours only on certain dates, and you don’t want to plan a time when finals or a break is taking place. Double-check and ask if there is a tour size limit. Some schools have smaller groups to ensure everyone gets the attention they need and get all of their questions answered. Additionally, these smaller groups facilitate a more intimate and informative experience. Consider attending information sessions, admissions presentations, and departmental meetings. Therefore, this will give you a better feel for the University.

Ask Questions:

I can’t emphasize this enough! Don’t be shy! And don’t think someone else will probably ask your question. Prepare a list of questions to ask tour guides, students, and faculty. And while you’re at it, inquire about campus life, academic support, internship opportunities, and any concerns you may have. Do you want to be part of Greek life? Play on an intramural team? Or belong to a religious student ministry? Can freshman not have a car on campus? The best way to find out these things is ask questions and see what the school has to offer. Some of the information you find out, may not be on the website.

Engage with Students:

Talk to current students to get a firsthand perspective. They will love telling you all about their favorite things and clubs they are involved in, as well as tell you what things to avoid, like taking a super early 7:00 AM class with a tough professor. Attend student panels or activities to understand the campus culture and community.

Explore Beyond the Tour:

Wander around on your own to get a feel for the campus. Check out the bookstore, library, the student center, the post office, and places to eat. See if you can get a tour of the dorms so you have first-hand knowledge of what they look like vs the online version.

Take Notes and Photos:

Capture details that stand out to you. Note the names of buildings, landmarks, and any specific information shared during the tour. With all of the info you’ll be bombarded with that day, photos are a great way to jog your memory as you reflect on your time there.

Evaluate Resources:

While there, check out the campus resources, such as career services, counseling centers, student clinic, and academic support facilities.

Immerse in the Atmosphere:

During your college visits, pay attention to the overall atmosphere of the campus. Does everyone feel down in the dumps, is the college a ghost town on weekends, or is it lively with events, group activities, or students bustling about? Consider factors like campus size, student diversity, and the surrounding community. If you grew up in a small town and had a small graduating class, heading to a large state school may feel like culture shock; the same way coming from a large city would feel if you landed at a small university.

Evaluate Housing Options:

You want to make sure you visit dormitories and explore housing options. Are freshmen required to live on campus? Do they have any private room options available and what’s the ambience in each dorm? Don’t forget to inquire about the residential life experience, and any unique features of on-campus housing.

Evaluate Sports Facilities:

Are the sports areas immaculate, but the dorms are well past their prime? This might be an indicator that sports are their top priority and not academics. What about pristine dorms but run-down sports facilities. Check out the soccer, baseball, and softball fields. Are they well-kept or do they need a serious overhaul? Talk to athletes and non-athletes to get a feel for athletics on campus.

Gather Contact Information:

Gather contact information for admissions representatives, tour guides, and any faculty you meet. This information can be valuable for follow-up questions or expressing continued interest.

Reflect After Each Visit:

Take time after each visit to reflect on your impressions. Compare notes and experiences to make informed decisions during the college selection process. Write down a list of likes and dislikes. Think about commuting vs living on campus and which would be better based on your needs.

Enjoy your time during your college visits and make the most out of your time there. Whatever you decide, I know you will make the right decision based on your individual needs.

If you liked this blog post, I think you’ll love these:

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