Oakton Outlook

How to Tour a College Correctly

If you’re unsure how, when, or why to tour a college, read this article to figure it out.


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Majority of students will go to college after high school, yet unlike high school, you can choose where to spend the next four years of your education. This seems like a very daunting decision to make, and for most students will add more stress onto their already weighed down shoulders. Remember, you’re spending FOUR years on your own for the first time, in a new environment, with people you don’t know. It’s important to go somewhere you actually want to go to and will enjoy. However, choosing the right college is really like a puzzle, you need the pieces to fit together nicely, and it might take a while depending on how many puzzle pieces there are. This is why it is so important to tour colleges; to learn what you want.

You don’t have to tour every single college you are going to apply because that would be expensive and would take a lot of time. Though it is recommended to tour a few of the schools you are interested in, say three or four. However, for those students who don’t know where they want to go, touring can be a helpful decision maker. Try to tour different types of schools as well. Meaning schools in the cities (big or small cities), large campuses vs. small campuses, and schools in college towns. Touring different types of schools are extremely helpful to figure out what type of campus life you want.

 

5 Tips When Touring a College

  1. Plan ahead

Make sure you plan out your touring; what schools you are visiting and when you are visiting. College tours tend to book up really fast, especially when it is a big college like UVA or VT. So, make sure to schedule your tours at least a month ahead, and plan how you are going to get there, and all the logistics that go along with it.

2. Tour different types of schools

You might have a certain idea of the ‘perfect’ school for you, but touring different types of campuses can prove to be very helpful in finding the right school. Try touring a large campus, a small campus, or a school in a college town vs. a school in a city. Touring a variety of schools is important and can change your mind on what you think the ‘perfect’ school for you is.

3. Ask questions when touring

Don’t be afraid to ask the tour guide questions about the academics and campus life. Of course, be respectful about the questions, but also be curious, it can be very helpful in learning whether the school is right for you or not.

4. Look at all variables of the college

This tip goes along with tip #3, but to go more in depth, pay attention to everything the college offers. If the school has all the academic wants but is a huge party school, and that is something you do not want, that college is probably not right for you. Find a college that has everything (or almost everything), and does not make you compromise.

5. Write down a ranking system

Writing down what you thought about a certain school after you toured it is very helpful when choosing where to apply. Sometimes you may tour a college and forget what you thought of the college, or maybe why you didn’t like the college and something you would want to see in other schools. So that you don’t forget to write down the school, write a brief description, and then rank the school. After a while, you will hopefully have a good list of some highly ranked schools and maybe some lowly ranked schools.

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How to Tour a College Correctly