How to Get the Most Out of a College Tour!

by Dolores Dell

As a former admissions representative, part of my job was to give prospective students and their parents a tour of the campus. I always felt this was one of my most important responsibilities because I wanted each and every student to see all that the campus had to offer and ultimately find out if this would be a good fit for the student. Since I’ve given many college tours I have a few tips to maximize your experience!

First of all, ask to be given a tour while classes are running during the weekdays. The reason for this is because although you may have a quieter tour on a weekend or evening you will not feel the true active life of the campus. During the week you will see how the students interact with each other. Also, try to see the cafeteria and possibly even sample the cuisine and see if this is a community you would like to be a part of. Another positive aspect about seeing a tour during active class times is that you will be able to see first hand the actual class size, and therefore determine if you are interested in attending classes of that size.

Secondly, ask to see everything! It is important to remember the small areas that a tour guide might sweep over but will be very important to your comfort in the college. Important rooms to check out are the computer labs. These labs are usually set up for students free of charge. It is important for you to see how many computers and printers are available in the labs and if there are lab assistants available to help you if your computer freezes or the printer jams.

Also, if you are visiting a dorm, do not just settle for seeing your immediate room, ask to see the common area or study areas and also the bathrooms where you will be taking showers and possibly spending a large amount of your time getting ready.

Other areas to visit are the financial aid and career services offices. Even if you do not have an appointment and do not sit down to have a one-on-one conversation, it is important to ensure that you feel comfortable in these offices and that they would be willing to help you if you decide to attend this college. Grab someone’s business card who greeted you in case you have any further questions before or after making your application decision.

Lastly, be yourself, have a good time and be honest with your admissions representative. Most representatives have been doing their jobs for a long time and know when you are holding something back. One very memorable appointment for me started out extremely well. It seemed as though both the parents and student loved the school and were ready to begin discussing different majors of study when I could feel some tension from the student. I tried to relax him but it did not seem to help, so when we began discussing the Math and English courses that were available I could see that was the problem. So I probed a little deeper and asked about his high school classes. After a few minutes, he broke and told his parents that he didn’t think he was passing his Senior High School English and that he wasn’t going to graduate. We were all stunned! But because he was honest and gave us some time, I was able to assist the parents in finding a tutor center in the area which lent help to high school seniors in Math and English. Needless to say he passed and I saw him that very fall in the hallways as a freshman. His parents and I had a great laugh at his graduation!

As always when dealing with college matters, bring a list of questions that you and your family may have; the admissions representative will be happy to answer your questions to help you make the right decision for yourself.

Good Luck and Happy Touring!

Copyright © 2011 Complete College Planning Solutions, LLC  -  500 Morris Ave., Suite 205, Springfield, NJ 07081
Ian R. Welham, Certified College Planning Advisor  -  Tel: 973.467.0101