You’re about to make one of the biggest decisions of your life. Where will you spend four years studying for your future career? Have you thought about what you’re looking for in a college? Whether you’re a freshmen, upperclassmen, or a middle school student, going on college tours can help you make the big decision.
Research colleges that offer what you’re interested in studying and get started with your planning today. Along with this post, we have put together a College Tour Planning Packet which includes a planning checklist, questions to ask, and a rating sheet to help you as you tour colleges. These tools will help you reflect, compare and make the best decision possible.
You have multiple colleges and universities you want to tour. Great! Tour them all (or as many as possible) and then tour some more. This is not something to be taken lightly. Print our checklist to help you stay organized!
- Write down dates that the whole family is available for touring campuses.
- Contact the admissions department and set up a group or individual tour.
- Write down the contact person’s name, email, and phone number when you schedule your visit.
- Find driving directions to the campus. Save them so you don’t have to use data or in case you lose service while driving.
- Print a map of the campus or bookmark the map on your phone or tablet for easy access.
- Make a list of questions to ask. We created a list to help you get started!
- Fill out our campus rating sheet and make notes during your tour; this form will make it easier to compare your visits.
- Decide on your method of taking notes on your visit. Smartphone? Tablet? Pencil and paper?
- Find out if a campus tour request form is required. Often these are optional, but they can be helpful to complete.
BONUS TIP: Ask if there is an overnight option to gain the full experience. If it is, they allow you to stay in a dorm room, eat in the cafeteria and “live” like a college student.
Download the college tour planning packet to find out what questions to ask on your tour and to grab our college rating sheet:
It’s the day you’ve been anticipating. It’s a day you should enjoy, but don’t forget that you’re there to learn about your potential college… so there is business to be conducted during the fun! Whether you’re on a group or individual tour, there are places you need to see and things you need to do to get a real feel of the campus.
What should you see on the academics side? (I mean, this is why you’ll be attending college, right?)
- Classrooms, especially in the area of your interest
- Computer labs
- Career Center
What should you look for as far as student life is concerned?
- Athletic events
- Bulletin boards
- List of organizations
- Recreation facilities
- Radio station
- Health care facility
Bonus Tip: Drive around town. This will be your home for four or more years. Does it offer what you want and need: stores, restaurants, theaters, parks, other things to do, safety?
Where do you find food?
- Student center
- Where else??
Talk to students and professors on your tour. Ask questions you prepared and ones that pop up while on the tour. They will love answering your questions and will want to persuade you to attend “their” college or university.
Pro Tip: Get names and business cards or email addresses of those you encounter so you can reach out after the tour if you have questions.
Follow up with a note to your tour guide or your contact on campus with a handwritten note. This note should thank them for their time, tell them what impressed you, and ask any questions that you have. Handwritten notes make a big impact, but your note can also be an email especially if you have questions or concerns so they can be addressed in a more timely manner.
When reflecting on your tour experience, try to place yourself at that school longterm. Committing to a college for your future is a huge decision.
Fill out our rating sheet that looks at important aspects of your tour: people, social life, major offered, classrooms, housing, town, campus, food, and safety. You can add other factors if you consider it important and a basis for your decision.
What did you like best? What was the worst thing about the college? Did it have everything you need and want? For example, would there be a good chance of you getting a part-time job doing something you enjoy? Are there enough things to do in your spare time to unwind?
Touring colleges and universities should be fun. Staying organized with your planning helps you enjoy and get the most of your experience. Tour as many colleges as you can. The decision of where to attend college should not be taken lightly. Start as early as your 8th or 9th grade year and tour more each year. Repeat if necessary. Just remember, this will help you make one of the biggest decisions of your life!