Choosing the right college for your future needs is an important decision, and the process can be very exciting. Many colleges and universities offer a lot of incentives to encourage potential students to consider their institutions. However, during a campus tour, keep in mind that you are likely choosing the place where you will spend the next four years or more of your life. Make sure you’re looking into these important elements as you consider which school is the right choice for you.
The Campus Tour
During the campus tour, you’ll have the chance to see the school from a current student’s perspective. It’s a great time to get a better feel for the overall cultural fit and to see the top highlights of the campus. Make sure you look at:
- The dorms. Ask to see freshman dorms as well as explore dorms that may only be available to juniors and seniors, since there may be a distinct difference in available lodging.
- The Student Resource Center. Take a close look at what resources are available and how you can access them. Look into resources like tutoring and mental health support.
- The fitness center. Take a walk through the gym and available fitness center resources. Make sure you know how to access them and whether certain hours are blocked off for sports teams.
- Standard classrooms. During your campus tour, take a look at what the classrooms across campus look like. Make sure you ask to visit the building where most of your major classes will be! Your experience, and your classroom, may be very different depending on your field of study and the budget and resources available.
- The library. Take a walk through the library and get a feel for what resources are available. Focus on things that are relevant to your major. These include whether you may have access to magazines, digital resources, or tutoring support in the library.
Ask your tour guide to provide you with more information about clubs and organizations on campus, campus-wide events, and social opportunities so that you can be sure you have the chance to make the most of your college experience.
Your Solo Tour
While there are a lot of benefits to a sponsored tour, you also want to take the time to explore campus on your own. Take a look at everything your tour guide might not have shown you. While there may be buildings you cannot access on your own, including the dorms or practice rooms in the fine arts building, there are plenty of things you can get a look at. Consider:
What Does the Campus Culture Look Like?
Are people generally accepting and welcoming? Do students tend to speak openly to others, or do they tend to remain isolated?
Are There Areas of the Campus That Need Additional Work?
Do you note specific buildings (potentially including the freshman dorms) that are overdue for renovation? What about classrooms or buildings that were not highlighted on your campus tour?
What Food Options Are Available?
Check out cafes, coffee carts, and restaurants near or on campus as well as the dining halls.
What Things Are Close to Campus?
Do you have easy access to a grocery store? Local parks or green spaces? Public transportation? All of those things could factor into your overall college experience, so make sure you have access to the ones that are most important to you.
What Is It Like to Sit In on a Class in Your Major?
If possible, arrange to sit in on classes offered by a couple of different professors who handle many of the classes in your major area so that you can get a better idea of what it will be like to attend a class every day.
Touring the campus before you choose to enroll is a great way to learn more about the available resources and supports as well as providing you with deeper insight into the campus culture. During your tour, make sure you look in the building that houses your major carefully as well as sitting in on classes from those professors.
At The Tenney School, we prepare our students for every aspect of the college experience, including helping to set them up for success so they can get into the school of their dreams. Contact us today to learn more about our educational options.