Everything You Wanted To Know About Preparing for the College Campus Tour

As you pack for your college campus tours, don’t forget to pack your tour preparations as well. Read on for hints to make the most of your trip:   Before you go:

  1. Look up and write down the name of the admissions rep for your regional area. This is the person who is probably the first reader of your application so getting to know them will help you come fall.
  2. See if the school is doing on campus interviews. Take advantage if you can to do an in person interview, especially if the admissions website says: “interview recommended”. (These may only be available for 2nd semester juniors and seniors, but it’s always worth asking).
  3. Email your major department head or sports coach for an appointment if you have time. If you are an athlete, complete the sports interest form online.
  4. Look to see if there classes you can sit in on while you are there. Register in advance. If there aren’t any listed, ask the admissions office or the department head for your major.
  5. Print out any parking passes for the schools; this will help you use your time effectively while on campus.
  6. Pack a camera (or your phone) to take pictures of the campus; this will help you remember details about the visit.

While you’re there:

  1. If you don’t have enough time for a full tour, make sure you stop into the admissions office and complete an interest card.
  2. If you have even a few more minutes, ask to meet the area admissions representative (see #1 above). Say hello and ask if they are visiting locally. Take a business card. (Do this before or after your tour if you are taking one).
  3. Write down the name of the tour guide. Here are some ideas for questions: http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/30/planning-a-college-visit-readers-suggest-questions-to-ask/
  4. See the department head for your major or meet the coach, if appropriate) – please contact them beforehand, as they may have current students to deal with)
  5. Sit in on a class (this might require advance planning)
  6. Walk at the front of the group – this way you can hear what the guide has to say and engage them in conversation about things that may interest you.
  7. Eat at the cafeteria if there is time. You’ll be eating there for 4 years if all goes well!!! Ask at the admissions office if they have complimentary tickets for the cafeteria. While there:
    • Eavesdrop – what are the students talking about?
    • Are there visible cliques or do groups seem to be integrating well?
    • Are students heads down or engaged in conversation (if they’re heads down – remember, it might be mid-terms or finals weeks)
    • Do students “grab and go” or “stay and gab”?
  8. Here are other things to do on campus: http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/collegesearch/campus_visit_score_card.pdf
  9. Talk to students, ask them about their school, what major, what they like and dislike. Most of them will be happy to talk to you.

After your tour:

  1. Write down your thoughts. Capture at last 3 things you liked and 3 things you disliked. Do this right away or you may find schools blurring as the day/week goes along. As soon as you can, post them on your college portal. You can use this scorecard if you need a place to keep track: http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/collegesearch/campus_visit_score_card.pdf or this one: https://www.cappex.com/media/collegeVisitChecklist.pdf
  2. Have your parents also jot down their thoughts about the school. Sometimes they’ll see things that you might have missed. (Plus it’s good to make them feel like their involved in the process :}).
  3. Send a “great to meet you” note to anyone you may have met on campus (admissions officer, department head, coach); letting them know how much you enjoyed your visit and are looking forward to being a “fill in the mascot”.

Want more information? Here are some links with great content:   https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/find-colleges/campus-visit-guide/campus-visit-checklisthttp://www.collegecosts.com/docs/publications/college-tour-tips.pdf?sfvrsn=7 Have a great time. It is possible you will be meeting your home for 4 years in the next few weeks!

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